Bhag Bhag D. K. Bose
Presented by StageCraft Theatre
Directed by Anamika Sawarkar
The play is about Mrs. Aditi Khanna who is trying to make her married life eventful by trying to get involved in extramarital affair with a friend of her husband, D. K. Bose. But she quickly cancels her plan midway as she develops a doubt about her husband, Mr. Mukesh Khanna, having an affair with someone else. To find the truth, she makes a plan with her friend Simranto, who writes an anonymous love letter to Mukesh and catches him red handed to cement her doubt. However, with their big enough circle of friends who get involved some or the other way in the later proceedings, things get entangled and funny. It’s an entertaining and comical journey to see it all unfold on stage.
The play is in Hindi and is based on the original script, “A Flea in the ear” by Georges Feydeau. Vikash Khurana adapts it in with hindi translation by Nandita Sahu. Often it is said that a bad director can deliver a good product from a well-written script, but even a great director cannot create a good product from a badly written script. When there is quality in the content and innovation in the structure at writing level, it makes a director’s job easier. Fortunately this play is strong from the writing level itself.
Written in crisp and witty language with rib tickling dialogues and quirky characters, the plot is established quickly. A bit slowly paced to take off, but soon it zaps through farcical movements keeping the audience laughing at the funny situations, characters and dialogues. The writers makes sure that though some lines are of double meaning, they aren’t below the belt and gross.
Debutant director Anamika Sawarkar gets a gold mine of content with this script and oh boy, she digs it correctly to generate huge pots of gold out of it. She is successful in creating such contagious energy on the stage through the pace of the play, speed of performances and use of stage, that it encapsulates the audience and transforms the play into a laugh riot.
I would like to specially mention about the use of stage by the director. She uses middle part of the stage (in the scenes at the hotel) to create a virtual space (Disco Room) in the minds audience through dialogues and orientation of the entry in that area. This virtual space created isn’t wasted later. It is used cleverly by switching between the on-goings on the stage to keep attention of the audience constantly on them. It keeps the audience glued to their seats while laughing all the way till the climax. A special mention is duly important for the good job done by set designer Sabrina Khan.
It is credible that at such initial level the director shows such maturity in this department and creates a non-linear experience on stage. As if in cinema where director uses editing techniques of shot progression and interchanges to create the non-linearity in the narration, she is successful in achieving that in Theatre.
She could not have done this without the able support of the cast and crew she got at her disposal. The young cast brings amazing energy with them and uses it with proper coordination and stage sense. They force the audience to move their eyes with the fast paced movements and they do so in different parts of the stage in succession. It is NOT an easy job. It is NOT an easy play. Incredible timing, unfailing coordination and appreciable energy come into forefront.
Though everyone did their job perfectly, there are few who stand out in their own ways. RJ Rocky as Lakhanpal Singh gets most laughter upon, apparently due to his (big) stage presence, comical performance and good dialog delivery. Nandan Majumdar does good job as Mukesh and shines as Jhallu. Chirag Chugani as Vishal gets author backed role and does justice to it using good vocal performance and body language. Equally good is D. K. Bose, played by Shantanu Thengdi. They are well supported by Anand Jamekar as Dr. Gupta. Pranjala Chauhan as Simran shows how a good acting involves being good at reacting also. Same goes with Onkar Ghare as Ramavatar who has least dialogs and most reactions.
Music and Sound Design by Priyadarsh Bhabda and Anurag Kulkarni @ Sa Digital was adequate. The highlight was the slow motion song and the high tempo version of it (acted in same fashion) at the start of the play. Again creation of a theatrical moment inspired by cinema I reckon.
Now on the negative points of the play, I am glad that there are not many. Though I would have loved to see illusion of Mukesh and Jhallu being at two places at once on stage. While watching the hotel portions of the play, my mind was recalling the superhit marathi play “Sahi re Sahi” which achieves such illusion and stuns the audience. Also, I am not sure if there could have been better use of lights (may be by darkening left part in hotels scenes and vice versa) but I think they may have chosen to keep it simple and it did not harm much.
However, the only question I would like to ask is, if Dr. Gupta was a regular at the hotel, how he had never seen Jhallu there?
To sum up, this is a good combination of farcical comedy format with use of slapstick in presentation of it. Slapstick is cleverly used to engage the audience in (generally) dull moments of the play, where it takes time to establish the plot. Once the farcical situations take over the stage, audience is not given a chance to blink his eye or think for a moment using a ‘tadka’ of slapstick too. So this play can be a good example of good writing, clever direction, thoughtful stage design and energetic performances with unfailing coordination.
One of the best Stagecraft productions (from the ones I have seen) till date. Keep it up!
(Play Pictures courtesy: Stagecraft Theatre)
: : Prashen H. Kyawal