This weekend, The Films and Theatre Society premiered their latest play “Pajama Party”, at St. Andrews auditorium in Bandra, as well as at Royal Opera House. This satirical play by Atul Satya Koushik, on women’s empowerment, has a powerful social message about the rights of women, that is especially relevant now, because of the strong #MeToo movement. The play is funny, glamorous, enjoyable and at the same time, very thought provoking. It has been written and directed by the talented Atul Satya Koushik, who recently gave us the extremely successful play Ballygunge 1990, featuring Actor Annup Sonii.
In Pyjama Party, Mr. Koushik has hit the bullseye, with his script, direction, and choice of actors. This play, seamlessly slips from English into Hindi, and the manner in which this is done so naturally, is one of its main strengths. Another of Mr. Koushik’s trademarks, is his affinity for using well known actors in his plays. Pyjama Party’s two main protagonists Darsha and Ayesha are enacted by famed television and theatre actresses Kamya Punjabi and Kavita Kaushik respectively. This original play deals with crimes against women and also stresses on the great gender bias that exists in our society, even today.
About the play:
The play is about four girl friends, Darsha, Aisha, Kalyani and Urvi from Mumbai and each of them is standing at a crucial juncture in her life, and all of them are looking forward to a successful future. They gather for a Pajama Party at Aisha’s place who lives with her boyfriend Abhay. The night progresses with music, fun, jokes, and food but what happens later, changes their lives forever. However, instead of succumbing to the terrible ordeal that one of them undergoes, they collectively decide to stand against the perpetrators of this terrible crime and find a novel way to deal with them by taking matters into their own hands.
Kamya Punjabi is most refreshing as the divorcee Darsha, who is a mother of a six year old. Deepali Garg is well cast as Urvi, who hopes to set up a successful start-up firm with her mentor Muktaji. Shakti Singh as Kalyani, emotes to perfection as she recounts the terrible ordeal she has undergone. However, it is Kavita Kaushik as Aisha, the aspiring actress, who steals the show with her natural comic flair for acting. The Tandav dace she did, which was choreographed by Sandeep Soparker, was really quite brilliant. Arjun Singh as Abhay, Ayesha’s live-in partner, suitably underplays his role, while Suneel Palwal, as the rogue Raghu Sampat, is most convincing. At the end of the show, Mr. Koushik actually asked me if I minded the villain’s surname being Sampat!
What the Cast Says:
Hats off to Mr. Koushik, for bringing this much neglected subject to the fore and dealing with it in a manner that has “mass appeal, is light and keeps the audience involved in the play”. He admits that it was a difficult play to write, as he had to “create four women characters with completely different personalities, even though they were based on characters he has met somewhere and some time in his life”. Kavita Kaushik, says that this play depicts an urban crime, and because of the digital and technological advancements made in these times, “this play shows you how to deal with urban crime by using technology.” She feels that it is high time mothers taught their sons to respect women and Kamya too feels that gender equality is “something we must fight for now”.
The sets have also been designed by the director and they are most functional and creative. This spunky and often hilarious take on a sensitive subject, has been co-produced by Ishan Yadav and Aditi Chauhan. Do make sure you catch further shows of this excellent production.