Review

SAME, SAME, BUT DIFFERENT

Cast : Jahnvi Shrimankar, Kailash Waghmare

SAME, SAME, BUT DIFFERENT Play Review


Deepa Gahlot



 SAME, SAME, BUT DIFFERENT Review


The productions that were staged after the unlocking, could not, for obvious reasons, be cast-heavy or complicated. Unless they were existing plays that had had a run before the lockdown. The first few were mostly small, one or two-actor shows.

Tamaasha Theatre's SAME, SAME BUT DIFFERENT, directed by Sapan Saran, is an engaging evening of live music and storytelling by Jahnvi Shrimankar and Kailash Waghmare, with Saran sitting with them on stage to either link the stories or translate the songs. The message, as she says before the show commences, is that we should be able to live with our differences; music is obviously a strong binding factor with diverse styles and streams co-existing for years without strife.

Unlike the group's hugely popular STORIES IN A SONG, that was a capsule history of Indian music, through fictionalised sketches, SAME, SAME BUT DIFFERENT is about the two singers' personal journey. They are casually dressed and seated on the stage, with the musicians and Saran, against a simple backdrop. They talk about their beginnings and evolution as performers-Shrimankar from a well-off Gujarati family from Mumbai, Waghmare from a poor rural family from Maharashtra. It is no surprise that Waghmare's story is far more interesting, his voice trained in the open meadows where he sang to reach his grazing flock. He learnt the songs his mother sang while grinding grain, the songs of protest by visiting Dalit activists, the folk music that suffused an economically backward but culturally rich milieu of a village. How he got into Mumbai University's drama course, and from there to a career in theatre and cinema, deserves a one-man show by itself.

The two swap stories with the ease of pals chatting at a gathering in the home of friends, and considering they have to do multiple shows, they still manage to react as if they are hearing those incidents and songs for the first time. The selection of songs is eclectic, from Gujarati garba, to a flirty lavni, a melancholy kajri, the sharp satire of the itinerant lok shaahirs, to the call of a Goan toddy tapper, a bit of Bollywood and even a pinch of Western music.

The best part of this format is that the show can be expanded or contracted, the songs and memories mixed and matched. It invites repeat viewing, and each time the music is likely to be just as enjoyable.

(Deepa Gahlot is a journalist, columnist, author and curator. Some of her writings are on deepagahlot.com)

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