Buddha Comes Alive on Stage
Hindustan Times, (Kolkata 11th Feb 2002)
Ilina Dubey and Sumanto Chattopadhyay in The Life of Gautma Buddha
The Life of Gautama Buddha, produced by Bubbles Sabharwal and Lushin Dubey of the Delhi-based theatre group Theatre world and staged at Kala Mandir on behalf of the Chowringhee Wing of the Rotrary Club has to be seen to be believed. With Starling performances from Sumanto Chattopadhaya as Prince Siddartha, Avijit Dutta as King Shuddhodana, Lushin as Gautami, and Ilina Dubey as Siddhartha's wife Yashodhara, the play was a viewers delight. The lighting by Ashok Bhagat was a totally new experience for Kolkatans. The music muffled strident, menacing, soft, matching the mood of each and every sequence has been composed brilliantly be GS Rajan. The set, designed by Habib & Co. was subtle, minimalist and meaningful.
The main attractions was the choreography of the sequences composed by Santhosh Nair. With no Jarring Interludes and an effortless flow towards the climax, the play was brilliantly executed.
In Search of Truth
In time such as these, it is important to pause, ponder and pay respects to those who devoted their lives and enighten the lives of other and to crate a calm and compassionate world. Life of Budha, the opera performed at the Durbar Hall of The Taj Palace was, indeed, a divine experience for audiences who had come to pay homage to The Enilighened One. The Play, Directed by Lushin Dubey and Bubbles Sabharwal, traced the life of Gautam Buddha from his early years of princely youth, who had a beautiful wife, doting parents and a loving sone, yet constantly questioned his existence and eventually renounced at material pleasures to seek Buddhahood. The poor suffering humanity around was enough to convince him that he was "them" and they were in "him". The play, enhanced with melodious music and superb lights, was an enlightening journey for the audiences including Shovana Narayan and Shefali Talwar.
Life of an icon portrayed on Stage
Review from Dallas, US June 2002
Gautam Buddha…the name has become an icon over so many centuries and conjures images of peace, self-realization and unity with the creator. To attempt a play, a theatrical representation on the life of Buddha is in itself an onerous and challenging task and to say that will perhaps not be considered hyperbole. Lushin Dubey and Bubbles Sabarwal attempted such a task. The two creative theatre personalities from Delhi have indeed created a play that depicts the life of Buddha in a matter of 2 hours. This musical saga was both written and directed by this duo that have displayed in amazing streak of comfort with such a complicated and extensive subject. The play has been traveling in the US since the past month and has captured the interest of not only South Asians but also the western audience.
Whenever an endeavour to depict a historical figure in literature, films, songs, or plays has been attempted, the creators of the material have often fallen short of perfection. But that to say the least is no surprise. However, the fact that such an attempt to encapsulate the life of Buddha was heroically made by the duo team of Dubey and Sabharwal is in itself an achievement. The play opens with the commentary that if "even 5% of the play can be appreciated by the audience" then the creators will feel well rewarded. So the creators of "Life of Buddha" indeed have reason to celebrate because the play that was performed in Dallas on June 7th 2002 left a mark in the minds and hearts of its audience. The people at the theaters witnessed a representation of Buddha's life in vivid colors to the strong and well-delineated accompaniment of dances, songs and acting. The utilization of colors, costumes, lights, shadows, expressions, and movements were well accentuated in the performance. The use of narration, chorus, the Vedic chants further enhanced the impact of the play. The play certainly left the audience with a desire to know more about Buddha. Perhaps that is one desire Buddha would have himself endorsed…..he desire to know more about his ideology, his philosophy which is essentially about loving Him, the Creator and controlling all other desires since desire leads to suffering. The actors had a superb command over their diction and expression and it will certainly be fair to say that both Dubey and Sabarwal have created a canvas that takes us back in time and that makes us understand a fair share of the man and personality that was Buddha.