Review of Mosambi Narangi performed at Balgandharva Rang Mandir

[wlm_nonmember]The last play of Aadyam’s Season Five, ‘Mosambi Narangi’, was performed over the weekend at Bandra’s Balgandharva Rang Mandir. This play has the two lead actors, Rajit Kapur and Ajeet Singh Palawat effortlessly morphing into twelve different characters! Directed by the award winning and very talented Mohit Takalkar, Mosambi Narangi is the Hindi translation of the play “Stones in His Pocket”, by Irish playwright Marie Jones. She has won numerous awards for this play, including the prestigious Lawrence Olivier award.

This adaptation is about Mosambi Prasad and Narangi Lal, two small time film extras who become part of a star studded Bollywood movie, when it is being shot in Banares. This sets the stage for ‘Mosambi Narangi’, a one-of-a-kind Nautanki style play about hopes and broken dreams, complete with oddball characters, witty humour and emotional turmoil [/wlm_nonmember]

[wlm_ismember] A rural town along the Banares ghats, is turned upside down when a major Bollywood blockbuster, “Isaq Banaraswala” descends to shoot their movie on location there. To be a part of an actual film with the sensuous film actress Sabrina, is like a dream-come-true for the townspeople, who are obsessed with the glitz and glamour of the movie industry. Both Rajit Kapur and Ajeet Singh Palawat flit from one role to another with the greatest of ease. One minute Ajeet is Narangi and in the next second he slips into the role of the heroine Sabrina. He even nails her accent perfectly as she is half Russian! The play goes on to explore the trials and tribulations, the expectations and disappointments of Mosambi and Narangi who are mere extras in the film. Narangi has just closed down his video shop and has great dreams of getting his own script made into a film. Mosambi has recently returned from Bombay and is enthralled by the beauty of the movie’s leading lady, Sabrina. Rajit is brilliant as Mosambi and also in the host of other characters he portrays including the aging Mamaji, another extra in the film, and also as the tragic Sonu. However, he was undoubtedly most endearing as Zinnia, the Parsi stage manager of the shoot! Rajit’s broken Hindi and mannerisms as Zinnia, were spot on! Ajeet too was fantastic in all the various roles he essayed. Whether he was Saurabh Narang, the movie director or Joginder, the heroine’s Punjabi bodyguard, Ajeet always seemed to play his roles to perfection. He is such a versatile and talented actor!

Balgandharva Rang Mandir

Our two innocent protagonists find the make-believe glamour of Bollywood quickly fading away and the reality of being exploited as extras and of having their aspirations squashed, soon kicks in. The disparities between ‘reel life’ and real life become apparent. This play manages to transport the audience into the chaotic world of Mosambi and Narangi and their tragically amusing journey, despite not having much of a story line. This is largely due to the acting prowess of the two main actors, and I am sure that lesser actors would not have been able to achieve this connect with the audience. The director of this play, Mohit Takalkar also points out that since this play is a “two-hander, the actors have to carry the play entirely on their shoulders, that too without any aid, relying solely on their bodies and voices. This makes it a theatrical wonder.” The set design, the costumes and the music, especially the live musicians on stage, were all pretty authentic, and added to the enjoyment of the show.