Direction : Advait Dadarkar
Writer : Mihir Rajda
Cast : Umesh Kamat, Spruha Joshi


Jayashree Hari Joshi

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It is a commonplace tale of an urban power-couple. As the humdrum career moves gain precedence, sexual intimacy becomes a casualty. The couple fails to strike a balance between the boardroom and the bedroom. For many, office blah blah is the new pillow talk and grabbing a few hours of sleep - the new orgasm. This play reminds you of the landscape in a deteriorating marriage like MATRA RATRA, a Marathi play by Aasakta, originally penned by Bradley Hayward.

Meet Akshay and Pranoti, who are trudging through a typical dilemma of balancing their work and personal life, juggling their time between work and trying to shape some sort of marital bliss. Both are career-oriented. The price they pay for pursuing their careers is significant, but they pony up willingly. Especially for Pranoti, this clash between her domestic role and her job, results in conflict, bickering, allegations, and psychological distancing from the spouse. This eventually leads to stress and strain. On cue, Pranoti is diagnosed with PCOD, a condition in women induced by chronic stress, but she wants to have a child. This is onerous under the circumstances.

The play has hit the popular chord with its plot. It addresses elements of a dual-career nuclear family – the constant bickering and arguments, inflated egos, marriage woes, infertility, family issues and togetherness – all elements woven together, interspersed with light humour and a bit of irony. The dialogues are crisp and witty; intense, yet not mushy – be it the candid argument between the two male friends after the agony of imminent separation steps in or the brief meeting of the couple after the separation. One must congratulate the playwright for not being melodramatic. The director has paid attention to the micro-details without overpowering the actors.

The only problematic question is about Pranoti and her cancer, which is an easy escape route – a stereotypical plot point - and diminishes the end. The chemistry between the pair Umesh Kamat and Spruha Joshi is apparent in the play. Umesh Kamat has essayed the role with refreshing candour. Equally endearing is the Gujarati friend played by Mihir Rajda, who steals the show with his antics. Spruha Joshi´s portrayal of the character is good but predictable. The contours of her character are not etched, and hence become shaky at times.

The multi-layered set design, depicting the house, and the terrace of the friend, is accentuated by the Mumbai skyline. Musical intervention is appropriate and plugged in with the mood of each scene. The light-scape keeps pace with the shift in focus, highlighting with restraint the emotionally laden scenes.

*Jayashree Hari Joshi has done her M. Phil. Her thesis is a comparative study of Rasvighna / Natyashastra and the Experimental Theatre of Bertolt Brecht. She is working with the Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai as Officer - Cultural Programmes.

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