From films to theatre — the third generation of one of the first families of Indian cinema, Monjoy Joy Mukerji, son of actor Joy Mukerji, has taken a call to learn the ropes of theatre and is ready with his first production, The List, an adaptation of French play, List-La Liste
His grandfather, Sashadhar Mukerji, started Filmalaya Studios in the 1950s. His father, Joy Mukerji, proved his acting prowess in films like Love in Tokyo, Ziddi, Love in Simla, Ek Musafir Ek Hasina, Shagird and several others and now, Monjoy Joy Mukerji is set to raise the bar of his family’s association with the arts with his first theatre production, The List, which will be staged in the city on January 26.
Screen to stage
“We are one of the oldest families in the Indian motion picture industry, and the thought of producing any form of art and bringing it out for people to see, is always of utmost importance. Hence, I decided to get into production and explore the medium” says Mukerji.
The production is the Indian adaptation of a French play, titled List-La Liste. It is a musical monologue, which highlights the story of a woman in rural Qubec whose life is revealed through a series of lists she pens. It’s a story that recounts a woman’s relationship with herself, her neighbour Caroline, her husband, her imaginary lover and her dreams.
Written by Jennifer Tremblay; the French play was discovered by Rohini Bhatia Singh during her visit to Canada and she decided to direct an Indian version of the same. “What intrigued and piqued my curiosity was the overwhelming response it (the play) earned from audiences and critics.
Also, few contemporary plays are written for a female character in monologue format and in poetic style. The List was originally written in French in minimalist poetic form. I took upon the challenge of trying to create an entertaining visual production that appeals to audiences worldwide while staying true to its artistic form,” explains Singh.
While this is the first time that the play will be showcased in India, the script has not been tweaked at all. “I have not changed one word in the script,” assures the director.
“I believe the author, Jennifer Tremblay, wrote the script with a vision of creating the world of an ordinary woman in rural Quebec who is complicated and perhaps not true to herself. I don’t think I have had to change anything to suit Indian sensibilities. Yes, I have visually highlighted her inner desires; her indecision about marriage and her true inner feelings about friendship, but these feelings are true for any woman, anywhere in any space in time,” she adds.
While Singh fell in love with the script as soon as she laid her hands on it, the director is quick to refute the assumption that her inclination is solely due to the reason that the play brings forth a woman character.
“A strong woman character is always extremely interesting and probably pushing the boundaries that people in the real world don’t. But, at the same time, I find any story that is woman-centric, worthy in itself...at the end it’s not just the character -- it’s the combination of story, character, plot and the way all of these are presented and revealed,” she shares.