BY URVASHI VASHIST
BY URVASHI VASHIST
"Dubey's performance as Meena, as the Assamese CEO of an exclusive ladies' escort service of Munirka, as the 34 year old modern Indian proto-feminist bride-to-be, and finally as a South Indian MP determined that idli be the 'national dish', is consistently crisp and nuanced, continually twisting in new directions, plunging to unexpected depths .... she has poignant movements and expressions....Gamat plays her four roles with equal aplomb...whether the nervous energy and good cheer of Mrs Daruwala, the Parsi MP/moderator for the committee on whether India needs an institutionalised national dish, and the earthy, boisterous, sharp-tongued and hot-tempered Belarusian wife of a mildly sycophantic Munirka businessman, giving way to a graceful, quiet, permissive mother-of-the-bride.. it is difficult not to applaud outright at the change... Hoffland's America-returned non-resident Indian makes for a startling, hilarious counterpart...."
"...gorgeously executed dance sequences..."
BY SAILESH RAM
BEING INDIAN.....TANDOORI CHICKEN OR IDLI- SAMBAR "
You would think that being Indian is a matter simply of having an Indian passport or having some Indian roots, but things are never that simple as a debut play to the UK explores...
The play illustrates all this with humour , drama and some fine performances. Using just four actors and led by well-known and much-loved Indian theatre impressario Lushin Dubey, the four reprise 16 characters in all, across four different settings, each showing a different side of India as a country in transition and flux.. Kharkongor's skill has been to weave this and the other stories about slum life, corruption and dowry into veritable drama with almost instantly recognizable characters...
He also vividly brings to life the 'clash' between modernity and tradition, East and West, north and south and shows amid the conflict, poverty, corruption and greed, that there is a uniquely 'Indian' resolve that somehow allows the country to function and somewhat paradoxically prosper, though shall we say, more culturally ... than financially.. It is a shame that this play is not around longer..."
BEING INDIAN TODAY IN A GLOBALIZED WORLD;
SALAAM INDIA AT WATERMANS
" If you have any interest in India at all, then Salaam India is four fascinating, funny and moving parallel stories of how Indian identity is being questioned as never before, 65 years after independence as it bustles towards global, superpower status ..At Watermans..
Pavan Varma's Being Indian is a best-selling non fictional prose book which attempts to examine the contradictions of fast-changing contemporary Indian society via a series of thematic chapters on different topics. What is the identity of India and its multitudes ? This is perhaps the question that has been asked since Nehru's famous independence speech in 1947, which spoke of'a tryst with destiny' athe midnight hour and which is invoked in Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children.
So, I was mystified as to how this book could be dramatized into a play, since it lacks characters...
CONFLUENCE, BY MARK EATON, Dec 2013
"'Salaam India' , investigates India in a charming and didactic manner...."
" multi coloured spotlights from Gyan Dev.. contrubuted to mesmerizing efffects to incorporate the dance sequences performed by a youthful and spirited support cast, dressed in vibrant costumes....
" 'stimulating choreography of soaring swirls by Gaurav and Amit Verlani.."
" Shena Gamat and Andrew Hoffland provide memorable performances..."
" Dubey imbues the wit and wisdom in Kharkongor's dialogue with impeccable comic timing.... which intelligently assits the absorbing scenes.... the director has achieved a notable achievement , by encouraging the cast to enliven the moralizing element through original characterization... Indian culture is shown in a charming and did active manner.."
STEVE BARFIELD . 29th November, 2012
( DATE REVIEWED 27TH NOV, 2012 )
I am pleased to say that the playwright Nicholas Kharkongor has done an excellent job by creating four original stories, lasting some 90 minutes, which allow the themes and setting of the book to be explored..
Salaam India is fascinating, funny and moving, and eschews simple minded celebration for complex analysis...
At Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford, having been very successful in India, an audience of largely Indian descent clearly enjoyed themselves immensely, but even if you aren't Indian there is much to admire here and some very wry humour. At one point a characater remarks, tongue-in-cheek, " if only the British had stayed longer in India, then they'd have become Indian...
" Very ably directed by veteran Indian actor and director Lushin Dubey, the four stories are bery different, yet they interweave towards the end, and all feature the same actors, who create different characters successfully by donning an item of clothing or changing their mannerisms.. Shena Gamat, Lushin Dubey, Ashish Paliwal and Andrew Hoffland.. all four create some memorable and rich performances, largely from speech, gestures and body language alone.. It has surprising denouement, and makes intelligent political points about India's nationhood, the relationship between different states from the north and the south and its famous heterogeneity...
Throughout these four stories I was impressed by the actors' ability to define so many different characters and the use they made of different accents of Indian English in order to be able to do so...Salaam India would also make a successful radio drama... .. the distinct characters and stories were clear on stage and extremely well differentiated, Producers take note ! This play deserves to be seen and read , not just across Britain, but elsewhere...... a very memorable evening.."