Gandhi in modern India

Visu, veteran dramatist and actor, was back on stage after a long hiatus, as advocate Sambasiva Iyer, in Viswasanthi’s ‘Konjam Yosinga Boss’ (concept, story, dialogue, direction - Visu). What would Gandhi think of modern India, where moral turpitude does not disturb people, but just leads to armchair discussions? Yes, Gandhi would be a deeply troubled man, and the play attempted to portray Gandhi’s anguish at such a state of affairs.

Gandhi comes to court, seeking the removal of his picture from all courts and currency notes, because he is unhappy with the way things are in the country. He calls in the Five Elements, Goddess Saraswati and Dhanvantri to buttress his arguments. Indeed a novel idea but the arguments presented by the witnesses lacked punch, often bordering on the absurd.

For example, why would the filling up of a bicycle tube with air be offensive to Vayu? And assuming it is, how does it reflect badly on India? Dhanvantri’s sweeping statement endorsing all indigenous forms of medicine, while damning modern medicine, was definitely lopsided. Is it necessary to run down allopathic medicine, in order to support indigenous systems?

If indeed Gandhi could come back, it wouldn’t be to remove all traces of his presence from the country. It would be to wage another battle, this time against the ills that plague ‘free’ India. Sure, he would have been demoralised but being a man of action, would he give up so easily?

Suraj as Gandhi looked too young for the role. Ironically, the protagonist was silent most of the time, sitting in the witness box. Some tautness could be achieved with the pruning of the play that runs to almost 150 minutes. Visu’s conversations with his wife served no purpose. And it was jarring to hear Kasturba pronounced as Kasturibai.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 10:40:02 PM |

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