A title like PEELE SCOOTERWALA AADMI is bound to create interest even for those people who are not frequent theatergoers. A yellow coloured scooter being an oddity, it is no wonder that any recollection of its owner will have the scooter as a reference point to start from. In Manav Kaulís play, such a reference then, not only acts as an introduction to our protagonist but also is layered with a story that moves between the conscious and the unconscious.
Using alter egos and unquenchable desires to give the unconscious a shape and form, Kaul makes his protagonist-a struggling writer, an object of mystery and a subject of conflicting emotions. The drama of unanswered questions asked by our protagonist gets played in the familiar psychological context of childhood experiences shaping oneís adulthood.
While the set and music reflect the existential nature of the play, it is the language, which lends to the play its ephemeral quality as memories, dreams, desires and angst get pitched against each other. Kaul undoubtedly writes with a poetic fervour.
Quotes such as ďChote sawalon ke chote jawab ho sakte hain par kaee sawal itne bade hote hain, unke jawab nahin hote who aapke saath rehne lagte hainĒ (Small questions may have small answers but many questions are so big that they have no answers; the questions begin to stay with you) are regularly voiced by the characters.
The magnitude of Kaulís language however seems to diminish if the overall nature of the play has to be considered. The protagonistís questions, which become the audienceís questions also, find an exposition that seems like an anti-climax. The climatic moment as such never arrives as the young writer and his father sort out their strained relationship.
Performances are mature and Kumud Mishra as father is particularly good. In his periodic appearances in the story, he also provides the audience with moments of comic relief, which thankfully are underplayed. What is overplayed in this psychodrama however is the magnitude of incidents affecting the protagonist.
You may at the end of the play wonder what the great fuss and preoccupation with the peele scooterwala aadmi was all about. And yet, you will not come away disappointed. Manav Kaulís language is not only beautiful but is also intelligently crafted as key sentences occur at precise junctures in the play.
The play has been given a definite design despite the dream-like chaos of its subject matter. It is this quality that stands out as singularly commendable in a production that otherwise may have just been passable.