An unusual show
In "Ho Rahega Kuch Na Kuch", mounted at the recently concluded Bharat Rang Mahotsav in New Delhi, veteran theatre person Mohan Maharishi breaks fresh ground. It is a must for those looking for some unusual fare, says ROMESH CHANDER.
A scene from "Ho Rahega Kuch Na Kuch" staged at the Bharat Rang Mahotsav recently.
MOHAN MAHARISHI is a well-known name in Indian theatre. Having trained at the National School of Drama, he has been working in the theatre for close to 50 years, directing more than 100 productions so far and penning to this day some outstanding plays like "Einstein", "Raja Ki Rasoi", "Joseph Ka Mukadma", "Deewar Mein Khidki Rehti Thi" and his latest play "Ho Rahega Kuch Na Kuch", that one recently saw in the Bharat Rang Mahotsav. He has been the director and then the vice-chairman of NSD's Managing Council before joining as a professor and Head of Department of Indian Theatre, Punjab University, and retired as Dean of Studies before shifting back to Delhi.
Incidentally, a few years ago, E. Alkazhi, the doyen of theatre, while summing up the theatre scene in India, said: "Mohan Maharishi's `Einstein' is one of the most remarkable productions that I have seen. If the production has taken place in London or New York, it would have been an international event." Mohan's wife Anjala is also an NSD graduate and a former member of NSD Repertory. She gave up acting as long as Mohan was the Head of the Theatre Department and it is after 20 years that one saw her on stage again in "Ho Rahega Kuch Na Kuch" written and directed by her husband. Now that Mohan and Anjala are back in Delhi, one hopes to see more of them on the Delhi stage.
Mohan tells us that "Ho Rahega Kuch Na Kuch" is inspired by Marska Norman's "Good Night Mother" that he saw in America some 30 years ago but got hold of a copy about 18 months ago and since then, had been studying its text before starting to write the play under review. Broadly speaking, the play is about the tragedy of living in a linear world of today. It is a universal tragedy not specific to the East or the West and so, Mohan has retained the original names of his two characters - Lucy (the mother) and Jessy (the daughter) - with mannerism and gestures familiar to us in India.
The mother loves to live and is afraid of dying. She clings to life whereas the daughter, Jessy, is a complicated character as she has gone through a number of problems with her son and husband. She is very cynical about religion and thinks that the Christ committed suicide. This of course, shocks the mother who is very much religiously inclined. Jessy's real problem is that she cannot find an alternative to what she sees around her and so, she decides to kill herself. It is her first ever clear decision that she has ever taken. She has made all the arrangements that after her death, the mother is not inconvenienced. She explains and shows her mother where everything is kept in the house and how all her daily life's requirements have been looked after, so much so that the mother too joins the daughter in perfecting and preparing for the final end.
The last few minutes are most touching with the mother being, as it were, a partner in her daughter's plans to kill herself. Balpreet in the daughter's role, is a new comer on the stage but has an immense potential and what she needs at the moment is a little more exposure and an opportunity to play against actors like Anjala who are always keen to provide space to talented newcomers.
In "Ho Rahega Kuch Na Kuch", Mohan Maharishi breaks fresh ground, totally different from his earlier work. The play is a must for those who are looking for something fresh and different in Indian theatre.
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