FRIDAY REVIEW

It is laughter all the way

DIWAN SINGH BAJELI

FULL OF HUMOUR A scene from the play "Oye Oye Bubbly"

FULL OF HUMOUR A scene from the play "Oye Oye Bubbly"  

Natsamrat with Shyam Kumar as its director seems to have succeeded in making its theatre economically viable. Formed in 1998, it mostly produces comedies that are free from affectation and heavy moral tones. Its main aim is to keep its audience entertained without being vulgar. This approach has enabled it to build up its own audience. Its slick productions with experienced cast are attracting more and more audience.

"Oye Oye Bubbly" is the latest production of the group presented at Shri Ram Centre before a large audience this past week. It is an adaptation of Moliere's `Imaginary Invalid', which creates comedy out of the follies of a wealthy man who is obsessed with his health. Though he is normal, he has a pathological feeling that he is affected by a number of diseases. Since the rich man needs a doctor to attend on him regularly, he decides to marry his daughter to a doctor but the daughter is already in love with another young man. This creates a conflict in the family. The rich man's second wife is treacherously planning to grab his money. There is another comic character in the form of a servant who is clever and wants to protect the family from cheats and hypocrites. The servant takes upon himself to frustrate the evil designs of the second wife who wants to deprive the rich man's two daughters of inheritance. He also wants to stop the marriage of the daughter to a fake doctor. These complications create comic situations.

Farid Ahmed, who has adapted the script in Hindi, has taken enough liberty to incorporate a few elements from contemporary Indian social reality. The dialogue has its own comic flavour. It appears that the title "Oye Oye Bubbly" is not apt, it is simply a device to attract the audience. The main focus throughout the play is on the rich man. The servant is another important character who imparts comic rhythm to the production. The servant with the help of the brother of the rich man creates a situation that exposes the treacherous nature of the second wife and reveals the deep love of Bubbly for her father who is determined to send her to an orphanage as a punishment for her defiance.

As usual the production under the direction of Shyam Kumar is slick. The themes of love, marriage and obsession with sickness appear to be the forte of this young director. In its previous production he shows the love of two elderly people who decide to marry despite the strong opposition of their young children. They are also obsessed with their health. His "Hay Mera Dil" is a comic exposure of a man obsessed with his health. In fact, Shyam Kumar has produced a number of plays based on Moliere's comedies.

A production of Shri Ram Centre's Acting course, Shyam Kumar knows how to create undemanding light entertainment that could be watched in the company of family members. In the production under review he has conceived a fantasy scene which reflects the infatuation of the rich man for his second wife which imparts tenderness to the production.

Farid Ahmed, who plays the lead role of the rich man, is a star performer of Natsamrat. The most important aspect of his acting as a comic actor is his excellent sense of timing and use of gags that evoke boisterous laughter. He understands the follies of his character and reveals them with remarkable comic effect. Manor Kumar as the servant and Vashishth Upadhyay as the brother of the rich man are eminently humorous.