Ishq Aaha

In a self-referential moment, Ms Saraf complains about her limited part, and is promptly cast as Punnu, but it would seem that Sassi remains a giggly damsel in distress for perpetuity. But this is meta theatre that works. The play makes several such nods to female empowerment, which sometimes smacks of tokenism. But it is also a good thing because semi-mainstream Hindi theatre is notoriously wedded to the status quo.

Continue reading “Ishq Aaha”

(from left) Namit Das, Sujay Saple, Rachel Dsouza and Puja Sarup

The Paradox of Mass Hypnosis

These are not pathetic clowns with great sad eyes or little dawdling duck-like movements, working up a lather of emotion for the whole dichotomy of a clown’s existence, ever ready to shoot upwards into bathos. No, we don’t have crying clowns here. Bonhomie is the creed. No circus clowns either, with large red noses or flying trapeze acts. They are not fleet-footed except when engaging in repartee.

Continue reading “The Paradox of Mass Hypnosis”

Quasar Thakore Padamsee on Mother Courage

An interview with Quasar Thakore Padamsee, in which the director talks about his latest work with Aadyam — a production of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children

You’ve added the tag line, Everybody Loves a Good War. The irony seems almost self-explanatory.

Toral (Shah) suggested it (It’s a reference to P Sainath’s book). I think it’s something the play does. It talks about the so-called benefits of war, the madness of it, and how everyone is looking to survive. If you actually take a look at it, all fascist agencies ‘love a good war’, because it breeds nationalism, and economically it simulates industry in many ways.

Continue reading “Quasar Thakore Padamsee on Mother Courage”

Namit Das: Music in His Veins

An archival interview with Namit Das, in which the actor-singer of the Mumbai stage looks back at his musical legacy.

What are your earliest memories of music?

My earliest memories take me back to Mahim, to the house where we used to stay, Makrand Seh Niwas. It was the first house we had shifted into, as paying guests, when my father (ghazal singer Chandan Dass) arrived in Mumbai. Everything took place with the sea as a backdrop — my father’s riyaaz, my trying to mimic him on the ‘baby harmonium’ that my mother (Yamini Dass) had bought me.

Continue reading “Namit Das: Music in His Veins”

The Spectre of Censorship

A look at censorship woes faced by urban theatre in Mumbai in recent years. This article was filed in July, 2015.

In Chaitanya Tamhane’s National Award-winning film, Court, a throwaway comment about an obsolete sect by a defense lawyer (Vivek Gomber) during case proceedings results in him being assaulted by vigilantes outside an upscale Gujarati eatery, Chetana, in Kala Ghoda.

Continue reading “The Spectre of Censorship”