"To say that the
audience was kept constantly on edge by the mesmerizing performances in
the play' 'Salaam India' would be an understatement.
The Play staged on Monday at the Times Pune Festival, was inspired
by Pavan Varma's 'Being Indian'. Directed by Lushin Dubey and written
by Nicholas Kharkongor, the play deals with the multi-faceted beauty that
India is - in all its strengths and weaknesses..
Perhaps the most wonderful aspects of the drama is the way the characters change their ages......It is the sheer confidence that the actors have in their art that brings about such a transformation successfully. One moment they are one person, and in the blink of an eye, they are someone entirely different.
It is experiments like these that have made the play so popular. The other interesting aspect of the play is the set design. It is designed mainly with broad aluminium pipes placed in single lines to demarcate separate areas of the stage and the space is wonderfully used by the actors...
The experimentation does not end here...you have choreography and some music by Louis Banks, effortlessly blending into the drama to create maximum impact...
Dubey shows you how theatre can be so much more than just a handful of people acting on stage.. She challenges herself and the actors and in the process challenges the audience to go beyond the usual..
.. the play gives the four actors a chance to go beyond their capabilities. Not only do they defy age, they also transform from Gujaratis to Punjabis to South Indians...
Andrew Hoffland steals the show ...
Of course the others are brilliant too...effortlessly moving from one character to another. But , it is Hoffland who gets the wittiest lines..
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges Dubey had to overcome was to turn a book, which has no characters so to speak, into a play with so many characters.. It is no mean part and she delivers admirably..Ably helped by her writer, she puts together a vibrant picture of India.
Nauzer Fareed, a theatre enthusiast says, " I had read Varma's, "Being Indian', and absolutely loved it ! When I heard of this play, I just had to watch it..I am happy with what I have seen.. It is so unlike your everyday theatre.... It is like a breath of fresh air!"
SK Ravi , who had come to watch the play with his family says, " Nowadays it is so difficult to come across something that is not only relevant but also interesting.. This play has everything going for it.. and the acting is very good.... It has been a very pleasant watch for all of us..."