I am completely aware of the fact that the title of this review says view. The reason behind that is I do not wish to review this particular play but I just want to share what I experienced in those 2 odd hours.
Geli ekwees varsha (translates to “Past 21 years” or if punctuated can also read “21 years passed”. Pun is intended!) is not a play, it is an experience. I stepped into the auditorium and was expecting to hear babbling and the mellow Shehnai (Indian trumpet). Instead I was pleasantly surprised by a little concoction of guitars and mouth organ and few youngsters casually sitting on the edge of the stage and making mellifluous music! The crowd that usually turns up for Marathi plays is woman draped in beautiful sarees with flower garlands adorning their hair and men in safaris or formals and youngsters in kurtas (goes for both the genders). I was again pleasantly surprised to see all youngsters and all of them absolutely unpretentious, some even tattoo clad and girls with short hair and guys with ponytails. It was heartening to see this group of dynamic youngsters drawing a crowd of other dynamic youngsters, a great way to change the Marathi theater scene.
When I entered I was very surprised to see that the curtains weren’t drawn. In fact they were wide open with the stage already set. Then out of nowhere, this boy came strolled on to the stage in scanty boxers and a shabby tee and started ordering the band to stop playing as if there was no audience at all. He was talking to the audience and thus started the play before you knew what was happening. In Marathi plays, cell phone disturbance is not at all tolerated. There have been instances when the plays have come to a screeching halt because of someones cell phone. The actors just refuse to continue. The directorial brilliance of the play turned a small issue between the actor and a potential cell phone maverick into an integral part of the play. In doing this they very creatively avoided the condescending little speech about the seriousness of theater. And from that moment on they had me and the rest of the audience hooked.
I don’t intend to give out any details regarding the plot and honestly it is almost impossible to narrate or walk through the plot. There are just some really interesting parts of the play that I particularly enjoyed. There was one instance where all the turmoil going on inside a normal young person in India today is acted out. There are numerous characters on stage talking their jargon near the boy and suddenly the whole stage erupts into a wild dance routine on a recent Bollywood hit item number – “aa re pritam pyare” from “Rowdy Rathore”. The dance routine ends as suddenly as it starts. The humor is mind-blowing and thankfully not slapstick. The lead actor has some interesting monologues and some dialogues which also seem like a monologue. It is challenging to keep up with the pace of the play and the witty innuendos. There is profanity but it is not misplaced neither is it used just to get a bold factor. Dialogues about terrorism, love, religion, sex are thrown around casually without seeming offensive or audacious.
To the trained eye of a critic this might not be a perfect affair. The dialogues imperfect, the acting is imperfect, the plot is imperfect. The whole imperfect-ness together conjures a thought-provoking, intellectually entertaining masterful act. It is tastefully done. For those of you who respect art and off-beat art to be specific, please do go watch the play.