Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Blue Mug...Down Memory Lane!


Today morning when I opened my blog, I saw on the right side of the page, under 'Popular Post', a series of posts, mostly about temples, festivals etc.! It was funny. It looked as if I am very religious and write about only temples and rituals/festivals! No, I am not very religious but follow some minimum customs, give importance to festivals, play shlokas in the morning etc. I believe in god/or some super power and strongly believe that if we hurt somebody knowingly, in any way, we will get it back twice. Otherwise, as my nieces often say, I am a 'modern maami'! They treat me as their friend...they are young girls, you know! I am so happy about it!

My son asked me, the other day, if I was interested in attending a play (drama, we call it, here!), The Blue Mug...a play by a Bombay director, Atul Kumar and the actors sounded familiar too. I always wanted to see Hindi/English plays by Bombay productions (now, many of them are coming here, to Chennai too!). I said 'yes' to my son, happily! Then he said it was on Sunday, the Janmaashtami day...! Phooof, my happy bubble burst, 'tuppp'! Then he said it started at 7.30 pm...the bubble of hope began to bloat again! Then I said I will do the pooja as early as possible and we can rush to the theatre! My son and husband started much love and respect for Lord Krishna! My sister in law doesn't know even now, in what way I did the pooja...poor Krishna! It was jet speed! I got up early in the morning, did murukku (chakli), Uppu cheedai, vella cheedai etc., drew rangloli with a long line of Krishna's feet from the gate to the pooja room, without talking to anybody! And we made it to the theatre 'on time'!

The venue was an auditorium of Lady Andal school, which is a very old school, in a spacious area, with a beautiful, huge banyan tree (the picture is displayed at the end). I hadn't read any review of the play before. Then it started. One by one, the characters started narrating their childhood, adolescent memories, with slightly dim light focusing on them.

The main story had Ranvir Shorey as an amnesia patient being treated/questioned by his doctor, Shirpa Singh! Ranvir remembers only until he was 20 years old, about what happened at his home in Punjab with his brother, father etc. during the terrorist attack period. The doctor asks him to look at the mirror, which he reluctantly does and shouts that what was visible there was his father, not him. He refuses to come to terms with the present times. He even forgets to recognise the doctor after his narration was over! The language was Hindi with heavy Punjabi accent, but his narration was superb. Though, it was difficult for us to follow the fast Punjabi Hindi, we laughed for whatever we understood! Except Shirpa Singh, I am familiar with others from TV serials and films. The other characters spoke in Hinglish, thank god! Vinay Patakh's (Beja Fry fame) adolescent narration was superb, he is a good actor, we know! Rajath Kapoor had done a good job and made us laugh a lot. I admired Sheeba Chadha who narrated how she dreamed of drinking milk from a bottle with a rubber nipple and tried it too in her was a laugh riot in the theatre! I had seen her in a TV serial 'Antaraal' with Om Puri in the main role. It was a very good serial, but was stopped abruptly. I still remember the story!
Does anyone else remember?

All the artists did well in their role, but still, for us, something was missing. The quality was there, no doubt about it. No stage decoration, just focusing lights. The characters were not connected to each other till the end.

In the end, the cast and audience interaction was there in front of the auditorium. The artists looked very tired and interesting questions were not asked by anyone, so it was sort of boring. But, somehow, we enjoyed the evening and laughed a lot!

I forgot to mention one interesting thing...3 or 4 best songs of Hemant Kumar were played in the beginning and I was very very happy about it. I love his voice. And one of his song, Zindagi Pyar ki do char ghadi hoti hai' which was very apt for the 'down memory lane' story theme, was played in between, during the play as sort of background music!

We took this picture during the 'interaction between audience and artists' time. They said that the story is based on a novel called, 'The man who mistook his wife for a hat' (funny title, isn't it?!).

Now, have a look at the beautiful banyan tree at the auditorium:

Edited in the evening: Just shifted the first half of the sentence to the second half and the meaning looks better!


Renu said...

I have planned so many times to see hindi plays but nevr could do so..hope to see some time.

radha said...

The Hindu also has some plays being staged in our city this week that I plan to attend. I went last year and enjoyed them so much. It is so different from the movies and yet so entertaining. Simple props and lovely acting.

Kavita Saharia said...

Wow ,what an evening !I envy you ! Was smiling through your Janamashtami preparation :)I love theater and dramas more than the movies.Had the chance to see many when i lived in Delhi.Out here i do get the passes and invitation but most of the time i am unable to see them because of hectic schedule.After reading your post now i am determined to see one.

Destination Infinity said...

Not sure about the drama experience - I have seen a few plays in Tamil before many years (S V Shekar, etc) but they have never impressed me. I am more into music - not the drama! What kind of questions can an audience ask in these situations, anyways?

Destination Infinity

BK Chowla, said...

The only time I went to theatre was in at Prithvi in Mumbai.

Jyoti Joshi Mitter said...

Hi ! loved your post! You know the lucidity you have, I felt as if I am watching the things happening in front of my eyes.Wish I could be there. But in a place like Amritsar, we do have a marvelous theater, but only punjabi plays are done. Me too, being a non punjabi, find it difficult to understand the fast punjabi. Thanks to Kavita Saharia for referring me your blog!. I have been following a lot of blogs, but yours is the second one with which I can relate! am on board now!

Sandhya said...

RENU: I always wanted to see Hinglish plays, esp. Naseeruddin Sha's, but somehow I am not able to do so! This one doesn't seem to be a play at all, for us Chennai people, because our plays are loud and just comedy circus. I don't go to those plays at all! The Blue mug was a surprise for me, though the Punjabi part was difficult to follow, though I am familiar with that too after watching Jaspal Bhatti's serials!

RADHA: The Blue Mug was one of Hindu Metro's play and that was the last one, this season, I think, Radha. Hope to watch more in the future.

KAVITA: Please watch them and I am sure you will enjoy, Kavita! The Blue Mug had been playing for the past 8 years, can you believe? The artists change and the narration of the past keep changing, it seems. Last Year Konkona Sen acted in the doctor's role, it seems. Hopefully, would like to watch more plays next year!

DESTINATION INFINITY: I used to be a member in a club when I was not married, many years back! We used to pay Rs.11 for 2 dramas and one music show for 2 persons! I remember watching Manohar's drama and SV Ramanan's musiciano (group name!). Uma was Uma Venkatraman then and was singing in their troup!

My husband wanted to watch SV Shekar's drama and so we went to that a couple of years back and came out was unbearable! This is entirely different. I can't say I enjoyed 100%, but can say, 60%! It was different!

BK CHOWLA: Prithvi theatre is famous, I know. I wish I am able to go there one day, Chowlaji!

JYOTHI JOSHI MITTER: Welcome to my blog, Jyothi! I was very happy reading your comment.

I can follow slow paced Punjabi, not the fast one with a very heavy accent! But he acted very well.

Thank you, Jyothi and thank you, Kavita for introducing a nice friend to me.

Wini said...

Reading this brought back memories of the play Maami! Very glad I could come with you.

Loved the ambiance, the actors and the simplicity of the play! And of course, the dinner afterwards! :D

Sandhya said...

ASHWINI: This play was a great experience, for me too, Ashwini! Now, we must plan to watch at least on Naseeruddin Shah's play!

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