Kerala

Bombay’s untold story, written in red

‘Bombay Sketches’ reveals socio-cultural and political transformation of city

Bombay Sketches, the winner of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi’s pravasi amateur drama competition, is a theatrical illustration that connects the modern Mumbai to its past.

The play, performed by the New Bombay Keraleeya Samaj at the International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK), reveals the socio-cultural and political transformation of the city. It tells the untold pains and sighs of the downtrodden thrown out of their land and exploited and about the women who are reduced to mere commodities.

Major themes

It deals with the stories of countless workers who came in search of better life and ended up in gullies of the city begging for a living, about thousands of mill workers left jobless in the onslaught of corporatisation, underworld gangs, and the bar dancers pushed to poverty and abuse once bars were closed.

However, nothing can stop the life in Bombay, which even forgets the violent bomb blasts. It is the mafia, slums, and corruption that make the city. That is why Bombay is a synonym of red. Bombay Sketches is a few illustrations drawn by that blood. It represents the red of the bloodstains of the exploited, the red of the people who are displaced.

Direct format

Directed by K.S. Prasanth Narayanan, the play develops in a very simple, direct format.

“Just as important as to how a play communicates, it is also important as to what is being communicated. The language of presentation should be simple, yet leave enough scope for interpretation,” says the director.

“The scenes in Bombay Sketches explore the possibilities of art, meandering from Raja Ravi Varma to Picasso and Richard Prince, as art walks ahead of us. Seen here is a confluence of simplicity of expression and naturality. Both silence and cacophony equally define Bombay. When the dramatist talks of the angst of wasted, devastated lives, his language becomes that of the spirit,” Mr. Narayanan points out.

Established in 1984, the New Bombay Keraleeya Samaj is a socio-cultural organisation in Navi Mumbai. The script of the play is by Keli Ramachachandran, an active presence in the field of performing arts, both visual and aural. He is a founder-member and principal mentor of Keli, a 27-year-old Mumbai-based cultural organisation.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 12:54:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/bombays-untold-story-written-in-red/article30647328.ece

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