I had two special reasons to watch this play and boy, was I happy I saw it. First reason, in the past I have seen a play by Asmita based on the same story "Death of an Anarchist", so I wanted to see how different directors adapt the same play, differently. Seconds reason was the protagonist of the play. I and Aakash were batchmates during our TCTS (Theatre for change, Theatre for society) by Asmita theatre group in 2011. Since then he has been actively involved with his college's theatre group and I wanted to see his work having attended theatre classes with him
Nobel Laureate Dario Fo wrote "Accidental death of an Anarchist" back in 1970 and since then it has been adapted and performed all over the world. The play was inspired by the death of Giuseppe Pinelli, a railroad worker who died after falling from fourth floor of a Milan police station.
It not only takes a good writer but great actors to send people into splits while bringing to notice a serious and important issue of police atrocities. All characters have been adapted well to an Indian situation by giving them certain amount of quirkiness Indians would relate with - be it SP Subhramanian Vallapattu (played by Ashish Dha) with a strong and beautifully executed South Indian accent or hawaldar Harpal Singh Cheema (played by Ratana Sambhav) who has more enthusiasm than brains or control on his tongue or SP's chamcha Insp. Rohtas Choudhary (played by Rupseh Sharma). The play however belongs to "The mad man", the central character played with aplomb by Aakash Gupta. While it might seem I am a little biased while looking at his work, but the rest of the audience who went into applause and splitting laughter were not. Right from the brief pauses in dialogue delivery to the energetic body language and the eye expression, he has delivered an incredible performance. The character is a clinically insane but decides to "investigate" the death of the social worker by posing as a judge. Curtain raiser is "the mad man" interacting with the audience like a stand up comedian. Each actor has given their heart and soul to their characters. I wish though that character of the reporter, Meenakshi Dutta (played by Riya Singh) was given a little bit more stage time to develop the character and to give it some depth. The ending is different in this adaptation compared to two alternative endings in the original writing. Watch it to know it. No spoilers here.
The play is fast paced and energetic through out, with both verbal and physical humour without getting slapstick. Kaivalya Plays have adapted it very differently than Asmita. Both are enjoyable but you walk away feeling differently. In this one, you would be carrying back a big smile on your face.
I would highly recommend this play to anyone who wishes to see a left vs right debate laced with humour or anyone looking for a classic comedy.
Play By: Kaivalya Plays
Cast of the play:
Madman: Aakash Gupta
SP Subhramanian Vallapattu: Ashish Dha
Inspector Rohtas Choudhary: Rupesh Sharma
Inspector Sunil Yadav: Piyush Kumar
Constable Harpal Singh Cheema: Ratana Sambhav
Meenakshi Dutta: Riya Singh
Play Directed and adapted by: Shrishti Gupta and Karanjot Singh
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