Friday, October 17, 2008

If it happens like this, then how?

Bangalore is a wonderful place. No doubts about it. I would never want to live in any other place other than Bangalore. Mysore may be. But Bangalore is perfect. Having said this, it’s also difficult not to mention the traffic of Bangalore. It sucks. Big time! No doubts about the fact that the traffic in Bangalore, especially when it rains, especially in the peak hours(now what hours are peak hours are again debatable but we shall leave that aside for now) sucks. On one such rainy afternoon, just as the traffic was growing in volume, I set out from Millers road (where, on the records I have a job, but off the records I get to use free high speed internet and get paid for it, by the hour) towards RangaShankara in J P Nagar. And strangely, inspite of the traffic, I reached my destination and secured a ticket, a good half an hour before I would be allowed inside. It is not often that I go watch plays by myself. I have a pretty decent social life. I just happen to be alone for this one. Thought I will, god having given me the chance, discover my creative self in the process. Anyway, half an hour early and nothing to do on a rainy evening (by now) and alone is sad. The waiting part of it. Especially when one is trying to quit smoking. That’s the problem with smoking. As a habit, it kinda fits in perfectly in ones life with respect to time. You had a long meeting and have tones of work to complete after - Smoke a cigarette. You are driving in traffic - smoke a cigarette. You are early to an appointment - smoke a cigarette. You are late - Some a cigarette anyway. It hardly takes 5 minutes. It so does not come in the way of anything else. More so, it fills up the gaps in one’s life. And when you are trying to quit and there is a gap of say half an hour in one’s life, such are the phases in life which are the real tests of character.

The half an hour gap not being disclosed to the reader, I entered a “house full” auditorium of RangaShankara. With the very very limited theater experience i have gained in my life time, I feel that the stage there is one of the best if not THE for performing an act. It is nice to see people flocked in to watch Theater. This is where the real talent exists. Full house for a play, especially a kannada one in the ”hip and happening” Bangalore is so cool. But the irony of the scene is that from where I was sitting, most of the heads i could see were shiny bald ones. From a decent glance at the whole crowd, I could , by the look of the eye, confidently say that I was close to being the 10th youngest in the crowd. Wonder where theater is heading in future if this is the kind of interest us youngsters(am pretty old I know, but 10th youngest in an audi that fits 500 is young enough) show in it. If it happens like this, then how? Heegadare hege???

But Heegadare hege was pretty good for now.

Heegadare hege is an adaptation of one of the short stories of well known writer T Sunandamma. Late T. Sunandamma, was a pioneer in her own right. She was the first woman writer in Kannada to establish herself in the genre of humour writing. She began with the landmark humour journal Koravanji in 1942 and went on to become a prolific writer across a range of magazines and periodicals. The odds against which she started her writing career — studying in a school in which she was the lone girl student (despite opposition from boys' parents who wanted her out when she stood first in class!), getting married into a conservative household at the age of 11 and so on — are inspirational tales.

Heegadare hege is a simple story about normal husband and wife. The story is about Mylarappa, a government servant by profession and Sarasamma (or sarasu as Mylarappa calls her with love or Saraswathi when he has transformed for a while into a very pro Kannada speaking government servant) who is a house wife. The story starts off with Sarasu, perfect house wife material, highly "movie" influenced waiting for her husband to return from work and take her out to a movie like he had promised in the morning, hoping that he does not take her to one of those mythological ones but to a modern one instead, like the one they saw last, which had 2 cabaret numbers and 4 songs in which the hero and heroine ran around 18 pine trees 18 times in each. As the play progresses, so do the characters. First, Mylarappa begins to learn Kannada as the government insists that all government documents and discussions be held in Kannada from November 1st and Kannada being made a compulsory language in convents and an official government language. Then a very nicely depicted retired husband phenomenon is shown as he drives away their cook and their domestic help and their gardener in the process of giving his wife rest and taking over house hold chores.

Then Sarasamma takes over the story as she first becomes a semi-popular woman writer who happens to go around places giving speeches to small audiences just to increase popularity. She also gets conned of the 20 rupees she earns from a writing to a news paper to a person who claims to be a popular movie writer. This makes her start exploring her spiritual side. The women in the area decide to meet once a week with the intent of having prayers sang to god. In weeks, it just turns into a mad house of house wives discussing husbands and recipes.

Most of the dialogues are inherently funny. The on stage performance was also amazing. Just two actors performing on stage. The male lead, Sundar, also a TV actor, took turns to perform other smaller roles like their cook and as the president of a "Gandhi something sangha" which invites Sarasamma to deliver a speech on the occasion of the death of a popular lady in the locality. The funniest one i thought was when Mylarappa is looking at the pictures of his daughter Kamala, who is in Pune to realize her dream of becoming a better actress like Simi and Rimi and hence has changed her name to Kimi. As he looks at the pictures he says, "Alla kane sarasu, dodda actress aagbeku antha nam kammu kimmi agid sari, but batte yaake kammi agide?".

I am just a critic and hence believe that the change of scenes and entry exits could have been handled better. Lighting was excellent, reducing the negative impact the change of scenes had on the audeince. A special mention for the lighting of the TV effect as the couple sit and watch a family game show and dream of winning a crore. I also felt that the play heavily relied on music and background score which i am personally not a fan of. All in all a 3.78 out of 5 for Heegadare hege with awards such as Best actor in multiple roles and best lighting.


Anonymous said...

Lately Tejas's blog entry reducing, hige adre hege??? :)
Hope all is well.

Madhavi said...

Thank you for the entry. I really miss going to kannada plays. have managed to watch a handful of plays here so far. the stage in Rangashankara IS indeed wonderful. your writing reminded me of a 'modern' play that I watched there 2 yrs ago - directed by Girish karnad with arundhati nag talking to her 'conscience'- which appeared in the form of a huge screen on stage! the timing was perfect and she ofcourse is a great actor. do post blogs on other plays u get to watch. its a nice virtual experience for people like me :).

Thanks again,

Tejas said...

That one is called "Bhikare bhimb". Arundathi played the part in hindi (the one i watched) and english and her daughter played it in english. Glad to be of help, virtually so :)