Friday, May 18, 2012

Review - Ek Mamooli Aadmi

I will be reviewing plays when I see them. "Ek Mamooli Aadmi" is being staged on this weekend at IHC. I thought it would help that I share my views on the play with my audience (are there any?) :) 

PS: Some of the actors might have changed since I saw it. 
“We distinguish the excellent man from the common man by saying that the former is the one who makes great demands on himself, and the latter who makes no demands on himself.”
Jose Ortega y Gasset quotes (Spanish philosopher and humanist , 1883-1955

These lines very well describe the underlying theme of a riveting play by Asmita Theatre Group. Written by Ashok Lal and Directed by Arvind Gaur, this play tells the life and death theory of Shri Ishwar Chand Awasthi. You can either see it as a theatrical personification of the world’s most famous common man by RK Laxman we all grew up seeing in the morning newspaper or you could see it as a journey of a person who lived like a nobody died as a nobody but unintentionally touched hearts of many just by doing what he was supposed to do. Wonderfully put together screenplay and the script raises several issues, without making a particular issue the center of it all. Beginning seems like a mystery play with the son of a dead head clerk wondering why Brahmins won’t come to last rites of a person they were worshipping a few days ago. The mystery slowly unfolds as a story of his father who hardly ever spoke to anyone, spent his life as a loner despite living with his son who at one point was the sole purpose of his existence.  The scene where the protagonist was introduced establishes the very crux of the play. I still remains fresh in my head. I did not notice when he came onto the stage and started to listen. Every things seems usual except Mr Awasthi’s attitude. He starts to change – he loses his ‘virginity’, spends a day with a female colleague much to her surprise and appreciation, takes a decision against powerful people, loses their favor but earns something he never intended to earn – tears of a few underprivileged people when he leaves this world quietly.
I have seen several of Asmita’s play. I found the strength of each play very different from the other. While ‘Operation Three Star’ would tickle your funny bone, ‘Ambedkar aur Gandhi’ would stimulate you intellectually, ‘Ramkali’ will send you tears through your eyes ‘Ek Mamooli Aadmi’ has one of the best character development I have seen on stage. How wonderfully the character of Mr Awasthi develops and you get to understand the psyche of a common man is what this play’s USP is. Viren Basoya has beautifully depicted a very ordinary common man supported by Bajrang Bali Singh as a well intentioned alcoholic we all love to hate – because they can say the truth.
If you haven’t seen the play already, the play is being staged on May 19th and May 20th 2012 at IHC at 7:30 PM

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