Theatre

Dayashankar Ki Diary : Of parallel realities

Ashish Vidyarthi in the play

Ashish Vidyarthi in the play  

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Ashish Vidyarthi’s powerful performance explores the complexity of ‘Dayashankar Ki Diary’ to perfection

The gap between ‘what one wants’ and ‘what one has’ isn’t something that everyone comes to terms with. Dayashankar Ki Diary lays an imaginary bridge between an average Mumbaikar’s fantasies and reality. The protagonist comes to Mumbai with lofty ambitions of becoming a film hero, ends up working under an MLA for a meagre salary, yet that doesn’t stop him from dreaming big.

The play scripted and directed by Nadira Babbar has been staged for over two decades now but not much of the world that the protagonist inhabits in Mumbai seems to have changed with time. Dayashankar Ki Diary‘s staging commemorated theatre person late Qadir Ali Baig’s 34th death anniversary, where a packed Taramati Baradari auditorium was left-awe struck by Ashish Vidyarthi’s monologue.

No description of Mumbai is complete without a mention of the crowded local trains, Dayashankar knows when he would get a seat, when he wouldn’t and why there’s lesser crowd sometimes. Being a keen observer, he knows the creepy lot in trains too. From the train to the parties, the paparazzi, he has an animated opinion about everything that he sees. Underneath lies an innocence and a certain gloominess in him, of living a rather unsuccessful life. The solo show extracts a lot out of Ashish Vidyarthi — he keeps the tone very conversational with excellent modulation, though his voice may not be his biggest strength.

Dayashankar Ki Diary : Of parallel realities

The character talks about his love for plays, recollects his childhood at the Ramleela and says, ‘I may not have become the actor I aspired to be, I can afford to be a spectator at least.’ In another line, he points out, ‘So what if I have only ₹500 in my pocket, do my dreams become any lesser than that of the wealthy?’ Dayashankar offers a grin to whatever life throws at him, he’s in a way even relieved that his sister passed away before her marriage, especially due to his inability to arrange ₹2 lakh for the wedding. He mocks at the irony of seafacing apartments, falls in love with his boss’ daughter, imagines himself in the Mahabharata and even as the king of Nepal.

The play fleshes out various shades of his character, although it’s Ashish Vidyarthi’s performance that enriches the sometimes ‘uneven’ writing. Dayashankar Ki Diary could have been shorter by a few minutes, the writer goes a little too far in exploring the character’s psychological conflict and could have added more timely references to make the play more relevant to the times.

The show preceded with the launch of a portrait of the late Qadir Ali Baig by veteran artiste Aziz.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 11:08:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/dayashankar-ki-diary-of-parallel-realities/article24253936.ece

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