It was the quest for "what is truth?" that compelled actor and playwright Saurabh Shukla to put his vision on paper. "Does truth actually exist or is it just a manifestation of one's belief?" Shukla recalls asking himself, while writing Barff. Ahead of the play's opening today, Shukla feels that his audience will be pushed to reflect on the same as the narrative unfolds.
Barff will see Shukla don multiple hats as writer, director and actor. It tells the story of a doctor (Shukla), who arrives in Srinagar, Kashmir — the land of his forefathers — and is trapped inside his hotel room, when curfew is declared, following a blast in the city. Unable to sit still, he goes on a stroll through Srinagar's snow-covered roads, when he meets a taxi driver (Sunil Palwal).
During this meeting, he learns that the taxi driver's son is unwell and in urgent need of medical care. The unsuspecting doctor is willing to offer help, and agrees to accompany the stranger to his village. What he doesn't know is that the village, which is hours away from the city, is abandoned and home to the driver, his wife (Sadiya Siddiqui) and son alone.
At the heart of Barff's narrative are conflicting questions of truth, reality and belief
As the plot of the thriller thickens, conflicting questions of truth, reality and belief unravel. The thriller genre is not very popular in Indian theatre, says Shukla.
"Most thrillers staged here are foreign productions. Thrillers are a great medium to tell a story because they not only provide you with an edge-of-the-seat experience, but are more engaging," he says. Barff assures the audience one more thing. With snowfall on set, moving clouds and the ambience of a secluded paradise, you will be able to experience Khusro's jannat right here.
Where: Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA; St Andrew's Auditorium
When: April 10, 6 PM; April 17, 7.30 PM
Entry: Rs 200 – Rs 1500
Call: 22824567/ 26401657