Thursday, November 03, 2011

This Tendulkar Is Never Out of Form

Jun 04, 2005 at 1028 hrs IST

When it comes to exploring the elemental violence inherent in human relations or delineating the hope that springs eternal, few come close to the master playwright Vijay Tendulkar.

Baby, a play written by this award-winning dramatist and staged in Tagore Theatre today, projects the life of its protagonist with supreme empathy and piercing insight. Despite its agonising length and a delayed start, the play maintained a firm grip on the audience. Such is the power that the original master blaster of Indian Theatre wields.

Directed by Rajinder Sharma of Art and Act Academy, the play tells the story of a young woman ravished and resuscitated by the same man. It begins with arrival of Baby’s brother Raghav, who has spent a year and a half in a lunatic asylum. Because he tried to save his sister from the local goon Shivappa, he was falsely declared insane.

He comes back only to find out that his sister has started living with the same man as his mistress who is responsible for their miseries. ‘‘Such is life, Raghav,’’ Baby tells her brother. Shivappa kept her, got her a job as an extra and provided her with lodging when everyone else turned on her. The play explores the entanglement of cruelty and mercy that mark human relationships and celebrates the hope that keeps the world going.

The knock-down script was executed with √©lan by the able caste. As their director calls them, the ‘‘amateur yet seasoned’’ actors gave scintillating performances. Gaurav Sharma as Raghav, a terrified, broken man was brilliant and so was Sachin Sharma who played Shivappa, the sadistic ruffian. Yogesh Arora as a struggling bisexual assistant director provided much needed comic relief. It goes to his credit that the Karve never became a caricature.

Alongside these confirmed histrionics, Anmol Bharati in the role of Baby made her debut. A promising talent, her hard work was evident. Lights for the play were handled by Parveen Jaggi, who in spite of the limited lights available in the theatre was able to create an ambiance.

(Review originally published in Indian Express:

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