Divyani Rattanpal

Direction : Faezeh Jalali
Writer : Faezeh Jalali
Cast : Dilnaz Irani, Abhishek Saha, Saurabh Nayyar, Aarti Aney, Jeh Alexander, Musicians, Adriel George, Keith Antony Sequeira, Rohini Maiti


Like a crab clipper, it unearths the hard shell of societal beliefs - beliefs which are fundamentally so rooted in the psyche that shaking them can seem severely upsetting.

Done intelligently, it exposes you to newer perspectives.

And when the subject being tackled is as fundamental as life and death, the stakes dramatically rise. With that being said, how does AFTERLIES fare in the monumental task it lays infront of itself?

Three old people in hospice/hospital beds are battling for their life and their beliefs. In classic Amar, Akbar, Anthony style, one is a devout Hindu, the other a Muslim, and the third, a Parsi.

They pick on each other's religious beliefs and lifestyle choices, and begin harping about how their individual religion's take on the afterlife is the "correct version."

Is Oriental rebirth a 'given?' Or the Abrahamic interpretation of Heaven and Hell more conclusive?

The questions are heady. The humour, potent. The actors are all at the top of their craft. Saurabh Nayyar plays the role of the devout Hindu really well; so does Abhishek Saha as the crabby Muslim oldie. Aarti Aney and Jeh Alexander, too, do a superb job in coveying a new idea of the afterlife's wandering souls.

The conversation between the trio gets even more layered with the addressal of topics like gender and the perceived "incompleteness" of a life marked by singlehood.

Regarding the central conflict, each is proven wrong when they die and actually move to the afterlife.

A dark comedy about life, death and the afterlife, AFTERLIES moves beyond (all) religious dogma and offers a fresh take on life after death.

Here's where it expands the conversation and brings in science at par with spirituality. While also throwing in some Rock music because, why not?!

On that note, the music composition by Adriel George deserves a special mention. Also does the set design and production design by Shivani Sampat and Percival Crasto, respectively. The task ahead of them was mighty - conveying a sense of the afterlife across multiple dimensions on a theatre stage. But they stood to the ocassion and did a remarkable job.

Overall, the play AFTERLIFE is a must watch for all wit-loving existentialists out there. Because after all, as the hand of fate deals a twisted blow even AFTER death, one thing does become clear by the end of the 75 minute performance - that existence shall always remain messy and chaotic. After all, "Life does not turn out the way you want, and neither does the afterlife."

*Divyani Rattanpal has worked as a journalist for The Quint, where she was also among the Founding Team members. While there, she also hosted and produced a podcast and fronted several standups. She's also worked for The Times of India group. She's now a theatre and film actor.

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