Hauntingly beautiful : Bikhre Bimb

A moving depiction of a woman, in conversation with her “evil” broken image.

Well, hello there!!! I know it has been long, but they(okay fine, I !) say to be a good writer you need to keep experiencing new, exciting things to write about, and therefore I have been off my writing pad for past few weeks. But I am back, with a lot of stories and experiences to share, that can easily be content of this blog (that I insist you must join/follow/like on FB) for some weeks to come! 😀

So first up today is an experience of a lifetime that I will love all of you to have – watching Arundhati Nag live in action in Girish Karnad’s production : Bikhre Bimb (Broken Images). It is originally a Kannada play and has been translated to Hindi and English too. I caught this on a Friday, at one of my most favorite places in Bangalore – Rangashankra, a lovely theater right in the heart of JP Nagar. Me and my friend have been longing to watch a nice production, and when we got to know about this, we just had to go!!!!!

The premise of Bikhre Bimb is quite interesting – Manjula Nayak, an unsuccessful Kannada writer, suddenly becomes literary world’s favorite child after publishing a bestseller in English. At first it seemed like a play about the conflicts of an Indian writer – born to speak Hindi/Punjabi/Kannada et all and still dares to write in English! How can someone who has learnt to think in a language, write in a foreign tongue? Manjula Nayak has been beautifully portrayed by one of the finest actors alive – Ms. Arundhati Nag. She plays a character who comes across as confident, and to some extent, even arrogant. She mocks at those who question her “loyalty” to her mother tongue, and laughs off all suggestions that she might be ever so slightly be guilty of abandoning her own language.

As the play proceeds, in a TV studio, there occurs another layer to the story – Manjula’s relationship with her sister Malini Nayak. Malini is beautiful, young, intelligent, and physically handicapped. She is everything Manjula isn’t. Manjula talks about the struggles of her sister, and describes tearfully how she tried to depict her pain in her novel. But her doppelganger traps her into revealing more, and then all skeletons from the closet come tumbling out. How Manjula had always been jealous of Malini, growing up in the shadow of a sibling far better than her. How Manjula’s own husband felt more at ease talking to Malini, than his own wife, which drew a wedge in their marital life. Childless and resentful, Manjula disliked Malini for being better than her, and secretly wished to be her.

BrokenImagesGal3
Image Source : www.rangashankara.org

I will leave the climax of the plot out of this post, since I really, really want you to watch this. But I will tell you one thing – Arundhati Nag is just fabulous. It is a gift to see such a veteran actress onstage, portraying such complex emotions with apparent ease, compelling you to stick to every word of interaction between her and her sub-conscious, making you gasp at her story, and yet feeling sorry for her. You feel pity for Manjula Nayak, a jealous sister who tries hard to one-up her own sister, and just when she thought she won, she lost it all.

The strength of her Arundhati’s acting is such, that you can’t leave Manjula in the darkness of theater. She comes with you outside, and stays in your thoughts, forcing you to think if good is indeed always good or if bad is really that easy to define. She haunts you long enough, to ponder on realities of life, and to wonder if we are too quick to pass a judgement on someone, based on their physical appearances, without knowing their truth.

Apart from her expressions, what I loved the most about Arundhati Nag’s acting is her voice – you can hear her till the back of the theater, and her diction is clear and powerful. The Hindi used in the play is pure, and yet easy to understand. Of course, a play is no good without a great direction, and Girish Karnad and KM Chaitanya deserve all credit for such marvelous interpretation of human emotions and relationships.

Do watch this if you can, I have heard the Kannada and English versions are pretty good as well, although the English version has a different actress. But don’t miss this experience at all!!!

Rating: 5/5

Featured Image Source : BookMyShow

The wonder that was – Nothing Like Lear

On my weekends, I often look for things to do – apart from sleeping, cleaning, cooking and the weekly grocery shopping. The kind of lazy bum I am, I tend to while away the glorious two days just like that, unless and until I have something to look forward to.

One new thing that I have found these days to do is watching plays. Now I am a drama queen, my friends and family can vouch for that, and I have always been very fascinated by theater. I have acted in plays only twice in my entire life, that too in school, but I enjoy watching them quite a lot. A theater actor always ends up having a very real connection with his audience, and it is extremely challenging – you know the reaction of your audience on the spot, and it can be quite daunting I feel.

So when I got an nice mailer from BookMyShow regarding a show right next to me at RangaShankara, JP Nagar, I booked a ticket for myself without much ado. And there was a perfectly legitimate for spending 300 INR plus Internet charges for a single ticket – It was “Nothing Like Lear”, an experimental take on the famous Shakespearean play “King Lear”, directed by none other than Rajat Kapoor and starring Vinay Pathak! It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, watching a theater stalwart and an amazing actor performing live in front of my eyes and there was simply no reason to miss this one!

My Saturday today too began the usual way – I woke up late, went to buy vegetables, did a little cleaning, and had my lunch. Before I knew it, it was already 2.45 pm, and by the time I got ready and left my house, it was 3.20 pm! It didn’t help that I found the slowest auto rickshaw in the world, and as I reached tumbling and stumbling into the theater, the legend, Vinay Pathak was already on the stage. As he saw me, he told me, “It’s okay, the play is yet to start.” Oh the embarrassment of the entire jam-packed theater looking at me and laughing! I looked around in a hurry, found a place, and settled down, hoping that no one still had their eyes on me 😛

Soon after the lights went out, and I saw the magic happening, real-time. The play stood true to its name, there was indeed “nothing like Lear” in it. But it had its own plot and sub plots, the sublime layers, a father’s immense love for his daughter and a man’s resentment against his brother, the “bastard”. The character held the audience spell-bound, going through a roller coaster of emotions – laughter, mirth, love, happiness, anger, pity, revenge, and finally, great sorrow. Vinay Pathak was extremely engaging, I am quite sure he couldn’t have had all those lines written, especially the jokes he cracked at the audience, with the audience. Even if every word was written, the spontaneity of his delivery made it look like he was the character, living and breathing it.

It was a 90 minute show, and the audience clapped with the character, an old man dressed like a clown, laughed with him, felt sad with him and loved him to bits. The climax was very intense and as Vinay took the final bow, he got a resounding thunderous applause with lot of whistles, and hoots, and a well deserved standing ovation. I wish Rajat Kappor had come in front of the audience too, it takes a great director’s imagination to come up with a beauty that the show was.

If the play is screened in your city, do watch it. It is worth the experience and honestly, way way way above in terms of value for the amount of money charged for a ticket.

I am too much of a amateur to rate a play by such theater giants, but just to act extra smart, I will do it 😛

Rating :  5/5

Have you watched any plays recently? Does this remind you of another great play you saw? Do you want to see a play? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!