Posts Tagged Manish Sabu
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Hindi - Bollywood Movie Reviews-- Play Reviews-- NAATAK-- Poems-- Event Reports, Play Reviews on June 20, 2019
Ashadh ka ek din (on Kalidas) : Naatak Play Review – June, 2019
Found on principles of bringing on stage intelligent and entertaining shows pertaining to East Asian literature and arts in San Francisco bay area, Naatak has consistently surpassed expectations from a demanding audience.
In Naatak’s 69th production, writer Mohan Rakesh’s “Ashadh ka ek din”, the focus is on young love, simple and lyrical as a poem, pure and unspoilt as nature, passionate and brimming with hope as the drop of first rain, in the month of ashadh. It depicts the story of Kalidasa, classical Sanskrit writer and poet who is presumed to have created his works in the 4th century, and was a royal poet during the reigns of kings Chandragupta II and Yasodharman. Kudos to Naatak for fantastic staging. How they manage it, despite low ticket prices is a mystery.
It is as true today as it was then that stupendous achievements often come from heart-wrenching personal sacrifices. Kalidas (Anush Moorthy) was ahead of his times and his talents went unnoticed, in his little village. However the king in Ujjain was impressed by his work and sent him royal invitation to go to the capital, Ujjain and adorn the royal court as a national poet. Kalidas is reluctant to leave his beloved, Mallika (Preeti Bhat) who is the inspiration behind many of his works. But Mallika insists that he should not pass up this opportunity which will help bloom his talent.
Kalidas: nayi bhumi sukhi bhi to ho sakto hai
Mallika: koi bhumi aisi nahi jiske antar me komalta na ho, tumhari pratibha us komalta ka sparsh awashya pa legi.
At the insistence of Mallika, Kalidas leaves his village, not to return for several years. With the force of royal sponsorship, Kalidas writes many epics like medghdootam, kumarsambhawa and raghuwans, all the while his beloved Mallika continues to be his muse. While Mallika pines for Kalidasa in the village. Mallika’s mother Ambika (Anshu Johri) curses Kalidasa and refuses to be drawn into the flow of emotions that have gripped her young daughter.
Ambika: “ma ka jivan bhavna nahi, karm hai”.
Behind every successful man, there is a great sacrifice of a woman (of course, in the present times, opposite is also true). Produced by Alka Sippy and directed by brilliant, Manish Sabu, “ashadh ka ek din” is a story of love that is eternal, of time which stops for noone, and of sacrifice from which are born great works of art. One thing the play is not and I would have loved more of is Kalidasa’s work itself. The play does not focus as much on his poetry. Kalidasa had written Rutusamhara before he went to Ujjain. If the play included many lyrics from there which spoke of the beauty of the mountains, clouds and rains that appeared even more beautiful to the poet, in the company of his beloved, then it would have enhanced our joy. Nonetheless, it is a tender love story, with beautiful prose and heart-touching dialogues.
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Hindi - Bollywood Movie Reviews-- Play Reviews-- NAATAK-- Poems-- Event Reports, Play Reviews on March 2, 2018
Set in an unnamed city in India, Naatak’s current play Muavze gives a peak in the world of Indian politics where everything has a price; everyone has a price and everyone have learned to extract whatever they can when the cards are played. Written by Bhisham Sahni and directed by Harish Agastya this play is a witty and hilarious satire on how everyone begins to plot ways of benefiting from the communal riots when it looks as if the riots are imminent. Interspersed with colorful Bollywood type songs and dances and brilliant set, the play keeps the audience riveted. Kudos to Ritwik Verma and Harish Agastya for very apt lyrics, Rajesesh Tripathi and Saurabh Jain and team for absolutely incredible sets and props, Anitha Dixit and Srikar Srinath for fantastic music, Manish Sabu for English supertitles, and entire large cast for excellent acting. Photo credit to Kyle Adler at kadlerphotography.com/events/naatak-muavze/
The word “Muavze”, meaning compensation is a relieving word and it is an irony that everyone is eyeing for ways to distill some form of personal advantage from what is expected to be most bloody communal fighting. Apparently a dead horse is an instigation for entire community to go into riot prep mode. While no one thinks of ways to prevent the riots, everyone is preparing for them from politicians who are keeping prepared speeches to be given at the beginning and end of the riot, to speech writers, to police team going on high alert ready to intervene after the riot begins, but not before, to arms and knives sellers hawking their wares to the highest bidders. Even some brave individuals are preparing to sacrifice the men in their families so that the remaining members of the family can benefit from the compensation that the government has announced, for anyone killed during the riots. It is such an irony that value of life and limb is predetermined and therefore the riot is now looked at by everyone as a mere fact of life to deal with and benefit in ways they can. It is absolute genius of Bhisham Sahni that he has taken most terrifying subject of communal bloodshed and expressed it as a comedy, without losing sight of the intensity and impact of the riots in a community.
It is also absolute genius of brilliant director Agastya that he has managed to transform the play into an amusing musical through catchy lyrics and parody music, without losing the seriousness of the subject. Starting with juxtaposition of opposing words like riots and compensation, the entire play offers a medley of opposing ideas, characters, actions, settings, and phrases. For instance, a contract killer adheres to strict code of ethics and also does not drink alcohol so he can go home, drink milk, and forget about the killings and sleep happily. There is juxtaposition of settings and also of lyrics in songs, for instance, parody of song, “Some of my favorite things” in film Sound of Music has become “Muavza jo de de humko” and song “Vaada tera vaada” of film Dushman has become “Yeh hai mera neta”.
While the play is a window into the world of the communal fighting and the toll it extracts in a community, it also speaks to immense resilience of human beings. When extremely heart-rending situations become a way of life and get ingrained in the system, when human beings are mere cogs in a gigantic wheel, unable to stop or challenge, then their choices are to get crushed by the gigantic wheel or become part of running it and extract personal benefit. The ultimate irony is that when masses pick up the call to propagate the system then the system gets more entrenched and the play ends in a nightmare when contract killer is popularly chosen to become the political leader. Kudos to NAATAK for such a timely play. This is an absolutely brilliant and not-to-miss play of this theater season in the bay area. For tickets, go to www.naatak.com .
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 .