Weekend preview Theatre

Jod Tod play: Nothing but laughter

A scene from the play ‘Jod-Tod’

A scene from the play ‘Jod-Tod’   | Photo Credit: By arrangement


With a forgetful protagonist and situational comedy, Jod-Tod promises a relaxed weekend

The memory is fresh in director Mathura Kalauny’s mind. He was at Chowdiah Memorial Hall in Bengaluru eagerly waiting for the response to his Hindi play Jod-Tod. The crowd erupted in laughter but what remained memorable was how a girl sitting in the front row fell off from her chair laughing! Now, when he brings the play to Hyderabad this weekend, Kalauny is confident the play will evoke plenty of laughs. “There are simple dialogues without any message; the play is a non-stop laughter ride,” shares the 72-year-old writer.

It is the protagonist Manu who is easy going but also forgetful who is the source of most of the confusion and comedy. “He is rich and has many friends. Manu gets involved in their problems but his absent-mindedness brings in madcap fun,” he says. Manu lives with his cousin Gabru and is surrounded by his friends Dhananjay, Bunty and Daku. When another friend Raghu comes to stay with him, his estranged wife falls for Bunty. “Manu’s fiancée Lata discovers there are too many young girls around him; a lot of incidents happen to lead to a big party thrown by Manu for Gabru,” smiles Kalauny. The play is called Jod-Tod as it deals with the making and breaking of relationships.

Mathura Kalauny

Mathura Kalauny   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Mathura Kalauny had written the play in ’95 when he came to Bengaluru from Kolkata. He neither changed the name nor its characters since then, but made slight modifications in 2006, when he added three characters. “Every time I stage a play I don’t see a necessity to change even a single comma,” he points out. Although the story is 30 years old, Kalauny observes comedy can still feel fresh.

“When we staged this play for a private company, we had two houseful shows; people like its humour as the laughs are not forced. The story feels real and the actors appear serious and spontaneous. It is the situation that creates hilarious moments,” he laughs adding he plans a production with a gap of four years. “Even then they run houseful; I have staged Jod-Tod only six times till now.”

Kalauny’s stint as a playwright began as there were only a few plays which appealed to him. With Bengaluru having a five-day week at work (unlike a six-day week in Kolkata), he used the extra free time to write. He first penned two short stories in English. “I valued my stories, so I translated them to Hindi. After they got published, I never looked back,” he says.

While his first play Swayamvar had a serious theme, the second play was Jod -Tod. “After I tasted blood I couldn’t stop; I continued writing.”

He has so far authored 21 plays, 150 short stories and four novelettes; he also runs Kalāyan Theatre, a theatre company in Bengaluru. Around 50 of his stories have been published.

Leading an active life, the septuagenarian chuckles, “I have retired and these artistes keep me young and busy.”

(Kalāyan Theatre stages Jod-Tod at Lamakaan on November 30 and December 1; 7 30 pm. Tickets on www.bookmyshow.com)

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 7:27:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/writer-and-playwright-mathura-kalauny-on-his-passion-for-writing/article30122182.ece

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