Divyani Rattanpal

Direction : Anju Uppal, Prabir Bose
Writer : Anju Uppal, Prabir Bose
Cast : Aditya Verma, Sobita Kudtarkar


In one line, SUPERMAN KA BEST FRIEND is a moving story about an unusual friendship between two children in isolation enforced by the COVID pandemic.

The awful spectre of the pandemic no longer looms above us. But the wounds are still fresh. Unhealed. Our collective senses remember everything. Collective conscience? Perhaps not so much.

SUPERMAN KA BEST FRIEND is the trigger that seeks to take us back to that long summer of 2020, when the big cities unpardonably did nothing - as lakhs of migrant workers walked a long way home.

The play begins with an 11-year-old boy, Guddu, sitting on the balcony of his high-rise apartment building. Like him, all his friends are locked down inside their homes.

That's when Guddu encounters a friend, who he doesn't share a lot of similarities with. Their conversation reveals the many schisms in society, which though, are watered down as they reach the kids. But exist nonetheless.

Writers Anju Uppal and Prabir Bose have woven a tale which cohesively aims to tackle the indifference that lurks in society: be it about tribal rights, accessibility, or the invisibility that tribal narratives face even on the emancipated avenue of a theatre stage.

They also bring in the personal to the narrative: the paper planes, which are a central motif to the story, were actually encountered by them in their apartment building during the lockdown. As they tried to decipher the source of these paper planes, they found a story to be told.

What stands out in SUPERMAN KA BEST FRIEND is the humour, which is well-crafted. Particularly, the juxtaposition of Guddu's online life with his friend's rural life - which is a satire on Digital India.

The play also questions the audience's gaze - as to who really is excluded and who is included on stage. Deep down, it is also a conflict between the inner child and us, torn between modernity and the old; ambition and satisfaction.

Actor Aditya Verma does a sincere job. Even the voice narration by Sobhita is well-paced.

Its timing is perfect. It's a powerful antidote to the empathy fatigue setting in towards the horrors of the pandemic.

Before the world once again moves to normalcy, we'll do well to ask ourselves the questions posed by this play. SUPERMAN KA BEST FRIEND is the bitter-sweet pill that is a must-have in a post-pandemic world.

Divyani Rattanpal is an actor and writer. She was a Founding Member of The Quint and worked there as a journalist for five years.

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