Salt N Pepper provided snapshots of hope prevailing amidst the chaos of urban living

Vikranth Pawar’s Salt N Pepper staged at Leela Palace, organised by the Rotary Club of Madras Metro recently, sent home the message that somewhere between high-rises and the chaos of urban living, stories of love and the triumph of human spirit over gloom and doom do exist.

The play, a series of dialogues of 10 minutes each — set between couples played by Mandira Bedi, Kuki Grewal, Darshan Jariwala and Vikram Kochchar — creates small moments of intimate revelations between a man and a woman.

Exploring relationships

The stage is set for a tense introduction when Bedi, playing a young woman lost in the big city, and Jariwala, her neighbour, choose the same day and spot for ending their lives. The duo decides to give life another chance in the hope that things will be different. The next dialogue is a bitter-sweet one between a young couple, at a counsellor’s office, trying to fix its marital woes. Elsewhere in another apartment, a woman’s need to see if her relationship fits Cosmo magazine’s ‘ideal’ billing leads to funny confrontations.

Perhaps the most charming of the dialogues is the one between middle-aged spinster Flavia (Bedi), who’s afraid of heights and is riding a giant wheel on her birthday, and Vincent Pillai (Jariwala) a bachelor trying to give up smoking, as the wheel gets stuck midway. Bedi shines particularly while portraying much older women. Even as an old-age couple that is trying to find a strand of connection — the man trying to make his woman laugh with his joke, but failing — Bedi and Jariwala put up a poignant performance.

The sketches that involved these two, by design or by virtue of the actors’ performances carry depth while those of Grewal and Kochchar are almost at a surface level — casual snapshots of lighter moments that sometimes bordered on frivolousness.

Predictable route

While most of the sketches drew attention to the fact that life is, indeed, all about hope, some of them took the predictable route for the convenience of a happy ending — such as the casual chat between the middle-aged couple that’s bored in marriage and the wife wants out, but ends up staying because the husband convinces her that a new marriage might end up the same way.