Bollywood comes to Benares

Updated: Oct 12, 2019, 08:19 IST | Snigdha Hasan

A new play set in a mofussil town transformed into a film set tells the story of two junior artistes roped in on location

Rajit Kapur and Ajeet Singh Palawat
Rajit Kapur and Ajeet Singh Palawat

India's love affair with its films is the stuff of legend. We don't just watch movies, but buy tickets to be transported into a world where disbelief is suspended with pleasure. Yet, we also love to grab any opportunity that offers to make the reel world real with both hands. Aadyam's newest play, Mosambi Narangi is about a mofussil town near Varanasi that wakes up to find itself transformed into a film set.

Translated from the award-winning Irish play, Stones In His Pockets, by Ashok Mishra, it is told through the eyes of two starry-eyed residents who get roped in as extras in the film. The Rage production has been directed by Mohit Takalkar and features Rajit Kapur and Ajeet Singh Palawat playing the lead roles as well as all the other characters in the plot.

Mohit Takalkar
Mohit Takalkar

"At one level, the play is a comedy. But it is also a complex narrative of the times we live in, told through Bollywood and the way it holds sway over us," shares Takalkar. "So what you see on the stage is a clash between the rural and the urban, greed and aspiration, in a potent story of friendship and guilt." For, once the two simpletons experience the industry as insiders, the glitzy facade comes crashing, and the exploitative side becomes apparent, he adds.

With rehearsals going on for two months, Takalkar tells us that language experts were brought in to help the actors get their accent right. And it wasn't just the Banarasi lilt they had to master. That Bollywood is a melting pot comes through in the characters of Marathi and Parsi assistant directors along with the Russian actor who wants to make it big in the industry. "Fleshing out these characters was integral to the play," he points out. Given the happy, fun-filled tempo of the play, the audience will leave the theatre in smiles, Takalkar assures. "But the point of the play is to also make it stay with you, so you can ponder about the strong statements it makes."

On Today and October 13, 4 pm and 7.30 pm
At St. Andrew's Auditorium, St Dominic Road, Bandra West.

Log on to insider.in
Cost Rs 300 onwards

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