By Manju Sampat
A Theatremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy!
Hello Farmaish, was performed this weekend at Andrews auditorium. This is the second play from Aadyam’s fourth season in as many years. As we all know by now, Aadyam, is the theatre initiative of the Aditya Birla group.
“We definitely want to take the audience on a journey, a flight of imagination and hope, which is at the centre of human life”, says Yuki Ellias, the director of Hello Farmaish, and this play succeeds in doing exactly that. It is a delightfully original play, with some wild and whacky ideas, and this is what makes it so refreshing. The play is a Dur Se Brothers Production, directed by Yuki Ellias, based on an original story by Yuki Ellias and Sneh Sapru. The English script is by Sneh Sapru and its Hindi adaptation is by Vidit Tripathi.
RJ Bobby, the play’s protagonist, runs an amateur ham radio station in a small Haryana village. Abhishek Chauhan plays this role to perfection. From his spot on Haryanvi accent, to his gait, his clothes and expressions, he manages to get everything just right. Working alongside him, are the young ladies from an NGO, who rent his premises to run a soft toy making centre. The adventure starts when these ladies hijack his program to start airing their own show, Hello Farmaish. Kalpana Chawla, the Indian astronaut who hailed from Haryana, has just blasted off into space on the space shuttle Columbia. This has really caught the imagination of Minaz (Priyanka Setia) and Gita (Puja Sarup), two of the main workers at the NGO, and they set off on a mission to track this odyssey through their radio show.
Their daily broadcast sets them off on a flight of imagination and misadventures. Soon, the whole village turns towards space for answers and our RJs are left facing some wacky questions, like “do they drink buffalo or cow milk in space”, and “could the black mole on my donkey, be the black hole from space?!” The entire village turns to the unknown Space for all answers and the audience base for Hello Farmaish keeps growing, making their weekend radio broadcast a village favourite, next only to the TV show Mahabharata! And pretty soon the listeners start phoning in and sharing their heart’s dersires as well! This heartwarming play is the story of resourceful women with vivid imaginations, who find enterprising ways to traverse through time, distance and space. There is a social message of gender equality, hope and education for all, woven into the play also. It is truly a tale of imagination intersecting science fiction.
In keeping with the original music by Prithu Parab, the stage too is very imaginatively designed with a stairway to the stars in the centre, a big round hoop that looks like a celestial planet, but functions as a door, plus a white cotton candy cloud and a fairy tale tree! Hello Farmaish is a charming production with top notch acting by Puja Sarup, Abishek Chauhan and the rest of the cast as well. Yuki Ellias’s direction is innovative and enjoyable.