Things to do in Mumbai: Airport stories on stage

Oct 10, 2017, 08:40 IST | Shraddha Uchil

Catch a play that shows you what happens when a man is forced to hang indefinitely at an airport

Meet Charlie, an immigrant from a strange country, who has just landed in India. Unfortunately, circumstances make it impossible for him to leave the airport terminal or return to his native country. He ends up staying at the terminal and worming his way into the hearts of those who work there, all the while carrying around with him a tin can whose contents are known only to him. If you are curious about what's in Charlie's tin can, grab yourself a seat at the Hinglish play, which is being presented by a new theatre company, Safarnama Productions.

Taking off
If you've seen the Tom Hanks starrer The Terminal, you have probably realised how similar the plot sounds to that of the movie. However, Inderjit Nagi, who has co-directed the play with Shrikant Bhatt, is quick to inform us that the play has little to do with the 2004 film.

"We knew the comparison would come about. But, even the movie was based on the real-life experience of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, whose lack of papers caused him to be trapped at Charles De Gaulle Airport in France from 1988 to 2006. There are several others who have had similar experiences. [For this play] You could say that the plane takes off from the same runway, but goes to a different destination," he chuckles.

Shrikant Bhatt (centre) with cast members
Shrikant Bhatt (centre) with cast members

Nagi, who has also co-written the script, says the play starts deviating from the movie about 10 minutes in. "The reasons why he is trapped are different, and even the characters' stories are not the same. We've adapted it to an Indian setting. Through the play, we deal with topics such as aspiration, divorce, and even LGBT issues," says Nagi.

Ritwik Bhowmik
Ritwik Bhowmik

Cast away
Although it sounds serious, Charlie and the Tin Can is in fact a light-hearted, comedy-drama. The cast is made up of quite a few notable names, including television actor Anshuman Malhotra, Liliput (MM Faruqui; known for his portrayal in shows like Dekh Bhai Dekh and Woh), and Naveen Kaushik (best known for playing the cocky manager in Rocket Singh). The lead role, meanwhile, will be essayed by theatre actor Ritwik Bhowmik. Samara Tijori, Disha Thakur and Syed Ali Arif make up the rest of the cast.

Inderjit Nagi
Inderjit Nagi

This will be Malhotra's first foray into the world of theatre. "I love acting in TV shows, but after a point, I started looking for something different to do. Shrikant is a friend, and that's how I ended up becoming part of this project. So far, it's been a lot of fun," says the 22-year-old. Sharing a little about his character, he says, "It's a pivotal role. He's a fun-loving, vulnerable young man. I can't say more without giving too much away. You should really come and watch the play."

ON: October 15, 4 pm and 7 pm
AT: Bal Gandharva Rang Mandir, 24th Road, near Patwardhan Park, Bandra West.
COST: Rs 400 to Rs 1,200

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