One play is a visual delight and the other will leave you entertained. Rangbaaz, a theatre group from Mumbai, presents Jungle Book and Bade Miyaan Deewane , over four days in the city.
The characters of Rudyard Kipling’s TheJungle Book: Mowgli, the boy, Baloo the bear, Bagheera, the black panther, and Kaa, the python have endeared to children through generations.
Television actor and theatre personality Shivani Tanksale and Sumeet Vyas have adapted the book into the play Jungle Book. It depicts the adventures of Mowgli, who though human, finds a loving family in Baloo, Bagheera and Kaa, who also teach him the laws of the jungle and protect him from the fierce Sher Khan, the man-eating tiger. Mowgli, grows up believing that he is a wolf, and when he learns he is human, he has to reconcile these disparate identities.
The play will be performed in Hindi, English and Marathi. Shivani says that the play took off on the idea of different animals speaking in different dialects. “Monkeys are outcasts in Kipling’s book, they are undisciplined and mischievous, and so we have them speak in Marathi. Baloo speaks in English. There is a wolf that speaks in Hindi. Vultures, created as puppets, come in with wings, and speak in Lucknowi style of sher-o-shayari.” Shivani says considerable thought has gone into designing the props and costumes and live music is one of the highlights of the play.
The Imran Rasheed-directed Bade Miyaan Deewane is an adaptation from Pakistani-Urdu writer Shaukat Thanvi’s novel Budhbhas. The story is a comedy of a complicated love affair, involving an eccentric octogenarian, Meer Sahab; a young girl Suraiya daughter, of Sheikh Inaayatullah, a neighbour of Meer Sahab; Meer Sahab’s son Tabish and Shaukat, a young writer. “I found the character of Meer Sahab very interesting,” says Imran, who along with Pawan Uttam and Farrukh Seyer, adapted the novel into a play. “The Islamic culture is represented very well in this novel,” says Imran, who recently assisted Anurag Kashyap in Shaitan , in which he also acted.
Imran says Shaukat Thanvi’s writing is reminiscent of the French playwright Moliere’s style.
He also chose to stage an Indian work because Indian literature is not being explored enough. “There is such a wealth of Indian stories, but so many people do not much know about it.”
Jungle Book will be staged today and tomorrow and Bade Miyan Deewane will be staged on June 7 and 8 at Ranga Shankara.