Aakar Kala Sangam's latest production focusing on the lives of two indigent brothers is a poignant social comment.
“Intezaar Abhi Aur”, the latest offering of Aakar Kala Sangam (AKS) presented at the Sammukh theatre of National School of Drama recently, is yet another creative effort of the group known for its artistically satisfying and socially relevant plays produced on a shoestring budget. It is a matter of pride for the group, formed by professionally qualified young theatre enthusiasts, that several of its productions, like “Prem Samvaad”, “Saari Raat”, “Aur Agle Saal” and “8 Ghante”, have featured at different Bharat Rang Mahotsavs and state festivals, including that of the Sahitya Kala Parishad. Some of these productions depict the hard life of socially and economically marginalised people in a down-to-earth, realistic style.
Jointly written by Meeta Mishra and Suresh Bhardwaj, “Intezaar Abhi Aur” presents the drab lives of two brothers who are reunited after being separated when they were mere kids. The two-character play unfolds itself in the dingy, stuffy room of the elder brother. Both are young, miserably poor and alone. They dare to dream of a better life free from the bondage of hard labour done for exploiters.
The younger brother is educated enough to read and write. He is attractive and unemployed. The elder brother works in a restaurant as a bearer; he is ugly and illiterate. Because of his ugly features, the owner of the restaurant does not allow him to serve in the section reserved for families. He seems to have come to terms with his present lot.
The younger brother tries hard to make him believe they have a future, inspiring him to dream, to fancy a life of plenty with a beautiful wife. The change in his outlook brought about by his younger brother makes him happy: he takes his future seriously, saves money for the future out of his pay and stops drinking liquor.
The play ends on an unpredictable note, stirring the hearts of the audience, sympathising with the plight of the brothers, reminding us of Maupassant's art of story writing.
The script is rather slight. There is little dramatic conflict to explore the psychological complexities. In AKS' previous production of “8 Ghante” which presents the meaningless and humdrum life of a lowly paid clerk, there is a conflict beneath the surface reflected in his bitter relationship with his employer. His unhappy personal life imparts a touch of irony to his character. Here, in “Intezaar Abhi Aur” the playwrights could have developed conflict between the elder brother and his employer. The nostalgic sentiments of the brothers could have given deeper emotional colour. Much of what it intends to convey shows through dialogues and not through dramatic action.
Bhardwaj, a faculty member of the National School of Drama and an awardee of the Sangeet Natak Akademi for his contribution to contemporary Indian theatre, has directed the play. He treats his material with restraint and avoids painting his characters with deep gloom and pessimism, capturing the sunny moments while the brothers fancy a better world. The director creates a contrast between the real world and the world of fantasy that grips the attention of the audience. The climactic scene is remarkable for its powerful impact.
Suman Vaidya and Teekam Joshi act as the elder and younger brother respectively. Both are NSD graduates and well-known actors on the Delhi stage. They acted with ease, naturalness and spontaneity, making the evening engaging.