Citizens’ Reviews Hello Farmaaish Theatre

The final play Hello Farmaaish: Space to grow

‘Hello Farmaish’ at Ravindhra Bharathi   | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

On Sunday evening, audience at Ravindra Bharati were left enthralled with the writing and performances of Dur Se Brothers’ Hello Farmaaish that questioned patriarchal gender roles. Here are a few select reviews on the play that concluded The Hindu Theatre Fest 2019. The review by Nivedita Narsapuram wins her a meal for two at Taj Krishna.

A good day, indeed!

Imagine you’re a young woman bound by the ties of a patriarchal society. You haven’t even crossed the district you’re born in. And then you hear of a star, astronaut Kalpana Chawla, from your city. Armed with imagination, laced with science, and a radio station, you soar high too. Hello Farmaaish is a moving play about misfits — four charged women and their mentor Gyani Geetha, who steal five minutes of a radio station with the help of Babloo. They create a world for their listeners, thus making their community radio show a window of science and kalpana (imagination).

Nivedita Narsapuram

Theatre lovers attending the The Hindu Theatre Fest 2019

Theatre lovers attending the The Hindu Theatre Fest 2019   | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

Powerful writing

The 80 minutes of the play flew us into another world of relatable characters, in whom we saw a piece of us somewhere, sometime. Through powerful characterisations portrayed amidst myriad situations, issues and emotions, were sketched the power of education, thirst for knowledge and societal dogmas all, in one of the most powerful play-writings seen recently.

Anjali Gupta

Mixed emotions

The play had it all: mixed emotions, fun and the way a day starts and ends in rural life, the role that the community radio plays all was highlighted adding themes of science and women empowerment. The powerful script and the stage setting and of course, the acting made the play an apt and grand finale to The Hindu’s theatre fest.

G Aruna Kumar

Let your ‘kalpana’ soar

Hello Farmaaish asks us to fly into the space of endless possibilities like Kalpana Chawla, riding on the space shuttle of our imagination. With the aid of humour, music and some great performances, it covers socially relevant topics like gender equality and even wacky what-ifs. The play challenges you to take the difficult journey from darkness to light, even risking getting lost, like the women in the play question society “what are you afraid of, that if I get lost, I may finally find myself?”

Shilpa Reddy Velkuru

Theatre lovers attending the The Hindu Theatre Fest 2019

Theatre lovers attending the The Hindu Theatre Fest 2019   | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

Science as a message

The exploits of Kalpana Chawla, hailing from Haryana, at a space station in outer space, strikes a chord in a group of women who make stuffed toys for export to countries they haven’t heard of. An accidental broadcast on a local village radio station leads them to establish one of their own to spread ‘science and knowledge’. Stars, supernova, black hole, aliens, life in outer space are all discussed; but trouble strikes when an attempt to portray gender equality leads to threats and even government pressure. But their will, grit and determination proves strong and they survive all this. Even the death of their inspiration Kalpana Chawla in a space accident only adds a spark to their journey to spread their message even more.

Dr V S C Sekhar

Beyond their world

What a tale! It is inspired by the community radio stations of Haryana, which are doing impeccable work. The plot deals with a group of girls working in an NGO. The news of Kalpana Chawla’s journey in space makes them think of the world beyond our solar system. What connects them to the community radio station run by the NGO. How getting some air space on the radio brings changes in the lives of people, is the plot. It shows the power of radio in connecting the people of the village. At the same time, the social stigma attached to gender equality has been projected very well in the alien world where one can choose their own gender.

Mona S

Voice of women

Amidst the starlit skies of a small village shines the ‘Kalpana’ of RJ Kangaroo to guide the sleeping spirits of the women who are inquisitive about astronomy and life too — but require community approval for doing even ordinary things like wearing jeans. The play replete with powerful and catchy songs tactfully enhanced the youthfulness of the content and generated softer feelings. That even in the age of the internet, smaller communities are trying to educate people and discuss their problems through community radio, is beautifully depicted here. So from me – Hello Farmaaish, RJ Kangaroo is doing a commendable job by giving voice to the women, making their farmaaish public, a part of the modern world. Your radio service is noisy and jarring at times but that is because of technical reasons. Three cheers for your programme.

Dr Jaya Rashmi Sahay

Powerful message

A very simple, yet powerful, message conveying drama that enthralled us all yesterday. The rural background added to the unique depiction of human frailties and strengths The . How a community radio can start a dialogue with a diverse group such as girls working with an NGO, an owner who has lost a donkey, a traditionally groomed youngster, a mother-in-law who cannot digest the woman-empowering message. It also shows how human nature, even with the basic rural background, can embrace fresh approaches — here offered in the form of radio communications! The crown was the small skit done by those working girls in imagining a planet where bearing a child would be a matter of choice among male and female ,and not a compulsion by nature, as also the freedom of choice of a person to be groomed as male or female.

Dhananjaya Mehta

Wider options

Hello Farmaaish started off as just another take on the return of Radio as a medium of entertainment but gradually rolled over to a celebration of womanhood with a predominantly female cast. Though it was led by the male RJ to start with, it was the ladies who stole the show with their stellar performances and went on to dominate the proceedings. Credit goes to the writing team for spinning such a wonderful narrative around the life and also death of Kalpana Chawla, how her spirit ( pun intended), that inspired a group of women in a distant village in Haryana to come up with the most innovative ideas – the possibility of men being the reproductive gender, albeit on another planet, and the more stunning idea of the child having the option of choosing its own gender. Bravo!

R Veerabahu

Spaceship to inspiration

The play carries the essence of the aspirations of women to grow. It splendidly portrays the inspiration which Gita and Menaz imbibe from Kalpana Chawla's travel to space. Hailing from a tiny village in Haryana, they turn from toymakers to accidental RJs because of their battling spirit to reach the moon and stars, breaking the shackles of gender-biased limitations. This play certainly left me boarding the spaceship to Inspiration.

Sivananda Datta Nanduri

Good writing

At the onset, Hello Farmaaish draws you into a nondescript world – women stitching toys in an NGO, a village radio station where people call to report missing cattle, the local sarpanch making money off screening the Mahabharata. In no time this setting is transformed into a location where surreal discussions happen around outer space, science and gender codes. This is triggered by the news of the first Indian woman, Kalpana Chawla, flying into space. Science thus becomes the thread that is used to weave the story of this play. Not scientists, but women from the Haryana village talk of the black hole, the supernova. And they own it. Chawla to them is a working woman, just like they are. Her tragic death is compared to a supernova - an example of the inspired writing that to me was the main strength of the play. The writing was backed by a convincing cast, imaginative set design, and rich use of poetry and music that elevated the mood. I only wish the play had a more relaxed pace and a better venue.

Garima Goel

Kalpana shines bright

Inspired by Kalpana Chawla and Haryana's Community Radio, Hello Farmaaish is an 80-minute mesmerizing indulgence in humour, imagination and poetry. The experimental radio run by women takes the villagers and the audience alike to a space where imagination knows no bounds. The play, in a subtle and light-hearted manner, touches upon societal issues as they talk about the outer space, black hole, big bang theory and aliens. The floating lanterns and spills of poetry here and there as they talk about Kalpana is a true delight to the viewers. Towards the end, when they hear the news of Kalpana's death, they talk about Supernova – probably to remind us that like stars, there's light inside all of us. And some, like Kalpana, continue to shine with their bright light even after they leave us.

Gayatri Ingle

Hello Farmaaish was a story of inspirations, girt of rural India and breaking boundaries when five women in a small village follow Kalpana Chawla and their dreams through a local radio station. While the play managed to showcase the authentic flavours of Haryana, the use of magic realism and a deeper delve into the potential offered by the theme was a miss.

Vijayalakshmi N M

Varied emotions

Do you remember what it felt like believing in dreams? Hello Farmaaish brings it back as it takes one along on a journey of self-discovery of a bunch of women via a radio show. The backdrop of Kalpana Chawla’s space voyage becomes instrumental in giving wings to the imaginations of women, who hitherto did not have a voice. The play is full of hilarious moments, juxtaposed with thought-stimulating scenes; it takes on varied emotions. The bizarre scenes and the unconventional use of props contribute to the surreal mood. I was left enthralled after this evening of brilliant theatre and my emotions resonated among many people present there.

Neena Annu Joseph

Theatre lovers attending the The Hindu Theatre Fest 2019

Theatre lovers attending the The Hindu Theatre Fest 2019   | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

Splendid performance

What happens when you dream beyond the boundaries of realism? This production by Dur Se Brothers portrays the life of five women who work for an NGO based in Haryana. The play revolves around Kalpana Chawla's space mission, and how these bunch of women imagine her journey to the moon. Hello Farmaaish, is a theatrical delight. It’s an amalgamation of flawless direction and strong story-line, with a fantastic background score that makes it a marvellous play. The actors put up a splendid performance throughout. Huge shout out to Yuki Ellias, whose play kept the audience glued for 80 minutes!

Smylena D’Silva

Breaking shackles

Hello Farmaaish! is a beautiful take on multiple issues that revolve around patriarchy in society, set against the backdrop of Kalpana Chawla's space expedition. The desire to break free of the chains that years of social conditioning have laid upon the society leads five women to take over a community radio show run by their acquaintance. They introduce a utopian world where men too get pregnant and ‘aliens’ live a life of equality. In today’s society, ‘A Room of Ones Own’ wouldn’t do, we need ‘A World of One’s Own’.

Vaidyanath Nishant


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