Direction : Manoj Shah
Writer : Vinit Shukla
Cast : Ishan Doshi, Jay Upadhaya, Aishwarya Mheta, Dayashamkar Pandey, Pulkit Solanki, Pratik Gandhi Rajive Bhatt, Shamath Mazumdar, Akash Desi, Hussaini Davawala, Darshan Pandya, Pradeep Vegurlekar, Kumkum Das, Ashok Parmar, Dharmendra Gohil

MAREEZ Play Review

Deepa Punjani

 MAREEZ Review
No upcoming shows.

A biographical narrative interspersed with poetry forms the material for director Manoj Shah's play MAREEZ. Written by Vinit Shukla, the play traces the journey of a poet, a shayar, who finds reprieve in his soul-searching poetry, even as his own life is beset by the pressures of day-to-day living.

Simple yet effective in its mounting, MAREEZ is an evocative piece of drama where verse meets dialogue to re-create different time periods through which the Gujarati poet Mareez, born Abbas Abdulali Vasi, lived his life.

Manoj Shah has taken inspiration from the life and times of Bukowski for this play. He says: ''Ever since I saw the movie Bar Fly on the life of Bukowski, I have wanted to put a character like his on stage. Mareez gives me this opportunity''.

Mareez's life can be seen in conjunction with the maverick American poet Bukowski to the extent that both poets were rejected by the literary establishment of their times. Although the struggles of his life may dim in comparison to Bukowski's, the poetic impulse in the play, is clearly a reflection of all those lives that have endeavoured to grow beyond the ordinary, the mundane and the superficial.

The backdrop that Gulam Mohammed Sheikh has provided for the play is visually breathtaking. The colours used in the two triptychs are enhanced by Bhautesh Vyas' light design. As a production, MAREEZ also benefits from worthy performances, particularly from Dharmendra Gohil, who plays the poet. Various phases of his life are shown ranging from the lover whose love is unrequited to a young man who comes under the spell of the iconoclast writer Sadat Hasan Manto, to a helpless father and finally to a man subsumed by alcohol and his love for poetry.

While director Manoj Shah has done a fine job of creating short scenes that are enviable for getting all the technicalities right, the drama of Mareez's life does get indulgent. However, its Gujarati audience loves it that way.

In the contemporary scenario of Gujarati theatre, which has been overtaken by the insidious demands of commercial appeal, MAREEZ comes as a breath of fresh air. Both its performative and literary value cannot be overlooked.

*Deepa Punjani is the editor of this website

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