Posts Tagged Juhi Mohan
How to make a comedy written in 1590, come alive in 2015? Actually that is not even the full challenge tackled in this production by Manish Sabu and Juhi Mohan. The main challenge here is how to adapt a Shakespearean comedy to a community at the other end of the world and still retain its beauty, its sharp wit, and colorful dialogs.
Bay area’s NAATAK company rose to the challenge and exceeded all expectations in its theatrical production of “Taming of the Shrew”! There are absolutely no other words to describe but to say KUDOS for such a fabulous adaptation of Shakespearean comedy to Bundelkhandi, set in India. Don’t balk if you did not even know such a language existed in India. The language is a close cousin of Hindi and appropriately coordinated translation in English appears on two close circuit monitors on both sides of the stage. I can guarantee that the audience could not have enjoyed as fully this production in Hindi, as they can enjoy it in Bhundelkhandi. It is the difference in watching Shakespeare’s play in regular English versus watching it in Shakespearean English. Somehow this play in Bundelkhandi feels like it was originally written in Bundelkhandi. Yes, it feels that natural!! The production in fact begins with couple of little challenges thrown at the audience, to get them thinking in Bundelkhandi – which is also awesome!
Bundelkhandi dialect is earthy, rich, and beautiful.
Consider how rich this dialog feels in Shakespeare’s English. Gremio is questioning Baptista about his quieting his good and patient daughter Bianca and making her bear the penance of his “fiend” of a daughter Kathrina.
Why will you mew her up,
Signior Baptista, for this fiend of hell,
And make her bear the penance of her tongue?
In Bundelkhandi, Kathrina, the shrew, fiendish, evil, wicked one is referred to as “karkasa”.
Petruchio marries Kathrina and then insists they leave, without partaking in the feast. Kathrina resists and seeks help from others and Petruchio says
She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,
My household stuff, my field, my barn,
My horse, my ox, my ass, my any thing;
And here she stands,
Kathrina is now Petruchio’s “amanat”.
Petruchio then lovingly manipulates Kathrina, and masterfully takes on the nearly impossible task of taming his new bride, as Tranio explains to Bianca
Petruchio is the master;
That teacheth tricks eleven and twenty long,
To tame a shrew and charm her chattering tongue.
and Petruchio himself boasts
hum jo padhat hai, vo hi hum sikhaut hai, pirem ki kala
Finally, Petruchio succeeds in taming his shrew, and Kate learns not to argue with him, and she says,
And be it moon, or sun, or what you please:
An if you please to call it a rush-candle,
Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.
In Bundelkhandi, Kathrina says,
Chahe to suraj he, chahe chandrama, aur tum kaho to mombatti.
Some Shakespeare’s plays depart moral messages, whereas some are just humorous ones to be enjoyed for the sharp wit. Obviously, there is not moral message that would be applicable in this century, in Taming of the Shrew. But in regular English or in Hindi, it would seem preachy. Whereas in Bundelkhandi, this is a beautiful production, with marvelously talented cast, and perfectly suited staging. This play is full of sharp wit, performed in an Indian language that is ancient and earthy, yet easily accessible and enjoyed by all.
Every theater season, I share for my readers, not-to-miss-play of the season in South Bay area. For my Hindi speaking readers, without hesitation, I choose this NAATAK production as not-to-miss-play in this theater season. Please get your tickets before it is too late at www.naatak.org .
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Hindi - Bollywood Movie Reviews-- Play Reviews-- NAATAK-- Poems-- Event Reports, Play Reviews on November 19, 2014
NAATAK company has exceeded all expectations in its production of “Andhera Hone Tak”, hindi version of Frederick Knott’s classic thriller, “Wait Until Dark”. The play is performed with English subtitles projected above the stage, and that makes it a must-see play, for a wider range of audience.
Stage versions of thrillers are rare because suspense and elements of a thriller, including murder, robbery etc. are hard to create on stage. Producer Surender Singh has made a bold attempt in bringing this production and the suspense filled thriller does not disappoint on any count. Clearly, Mukund Marathe has once again proved that he is simply one of the most brilliant directors.
Suneeta Saxena (Sareeka Malhotra) is a housewife, who is also blind, and is married to Sameer Saxena (Puneet) and they live in Shivaji Park, Mumbai. Sameer becomes an innocent transporter of a doll stuffed with contraband, when he brought it home, at the request of a woman, who is now surfaced as dead. Soon thereafter, Sameer is traveling again for business and Suneeta becomes target of three con-men, looking for heroin hidden in a doll. The doll is nowhere to be found because unbeknownst to anyone, a little girl, Aneesha, living in the apartment upstairs, has stolen the doll. The trio play initially manage to get Suneeta worried that her husband will be suspected of murdering the woman and the only way to protect him would be to enable them to have the possession of the doll.
Sareeka Malhotra’s performance as a blind heroine, is brilliant, both vulnerable and at the same time courageous and determined. The three con men, played by Varun Dua, Sanjay Apte, and Amit Sharma are so good at being bad that their performance holds you at the edge of your seats. Aneesha Nema, the little child star gives a phenomenal performance as a bratty but precocious kid. The set design is superb, easy for a supposedly blind person to navigate and yet complex for her to figure out the movements of the intruders. Juhi Mohan has done a great job with lights, helping create the perfect “dark”, that would give Suneeta an edge against the intruders.
Every theater season, I give my recommendation of a “must-watch play of the season” from among South Bay Theater companies, including (NAATAK – www,naatak.org, CityLights – http://www.cltc.org, San Jose Stage – http://www.thestage.org, Theatreworks – http://www.theatreworks.org, EnActe Arts – http://www.enacte.org etc.) and this season, unequivocally, I recommend NAATAK’s “Andhera Hone Tak”, as the “must-watch play of the season”. While the play is performed in Hindi, the English sub-titles, projected above the stage, make it easy for all to enjoy. So remember, you don’t need to understand Hindi to enjoy the suspense, heart stopping tension, spooky lighting, and climactic end, all delivered by flawless performance, in real time.