By Manju Sampat
Aadhe Adhure, is a powerful play, written by Mohan Rakesh, that deals with a dysfunctional family who seem to be caught in a web of unhappy circumstances and relationships. Savitri (Komal Chhabria), is a middle aged woman living with her spineless husband Mahindra (Ashok Pandey), and her three children. Ashok (Uddhav Vij) is the eldest and is a good for nothing, unemployed wastrel. Then comes Binni (Saadhika Syal) who eloped with Manoj, but is back home as her her marriage does not seem to be working out. Her husband accuses Binni of carrying unnecessary â€˜emotional baggage from her maternal home. Lastly there is the teenaged Kinni, (Urvazi Kotwal) who is head strong and rude to everyone in the family.
Savitri is totally frustrated with her lot, especially with Mahindra, who has failed to provide her with any emotional or financial security. She feels totally let down by her husband and she sees him as a weakling who is being taken advantage of by his friend Juneja. So it is Savitri who has to support the family by working in an office. Mahindra is equally frustrated and thinks he is treated like a â€˜rubber stampâ€™ at home, and feels most sorry for himself.
Savitriâ€™s boss, Singhania comes visiting and she hopes that he can use
his contacts to get her good for nothing son, a job. Ashok is totally
contemptuous of Singhania and his raucous laugh and disgusting habit of
scratching himself. Ashok Pandey is excellent as the uncultured
Singhania. In fact Pandey plays five roles most convincingly, including
the role of Juneja, who Savitri is most resentful of, as she is
convinced he cheated her husband in their financial dealings
Everyone seems to be getting on each others nerves and this tension and claustrophobic atmosphere pervades to the audience as well. Finally Savitri can’t take it any more. She decides to leave her family and go away with an ex flame, Jagmohan, another role played by Ashok Pandey! Incidentally Pandey is also the director of this play, as well as the faceless
Everyman’s sutradhar, symbolic of how many people are caught in
similar unfulfilling relationship webs. Pandey does indeed wear many
The play is tautly written, and the language used by the playwright is hard hitting and searing. The constant tension amongst the characters on stage makes this a dramatically powerful watch. Komal Chhabria gets under the skin of the protagonist Savitri, and gives a brilliant performance. She is emotive, expressive and totally convincing as Savitri. One can feel her pain and frustration. Ashok Pandey manages to play each of his five roles differently though as Mahindra he tended to mumble a lot and was barely audible at times. However, that might have been on purpose as he meant to share his secret frustrations with the audience without his wife listening! The three children also lend able support, and the influence of the Goldberg studios form of Method Acting on them, is very obvious. In the end, Savitri returns to her family as her foray with Jagmohan does not seem to have worked out, all men are the same, she feels. So she is back to where she started and the play has come a full circle.
The intimate setting of the Jeff Goldberg Studio is an ideal space to watch this play. Further shows are scheduled for May25th, 26th and 27th at 8pm at the
Venue: Jeff Goldberg Studio
621, Links Building, 4th Floor,
Corner of 14th Rd. & Linking Road, Khar.