Going to this event/show was a torn decision for me, partly because of some personal reasons. But that is another conversation, one that will require harder booze than this glass of wine. When you see high caliber actors like Neena Gupta and Anupam Kher come together to act on stage the outcome will be exceptional. I know the advertisement for this was floating around for a long time, but I paid no heed to it due to my personal beef, but then when your mother whom I so loving call Mother India tells you that she wants to see the show; you leave all aside and buy the tickets. For once I have to tell you (okay maybe more than once) my mum was right in her decision of going to see the show.
So a few things about the event, obviously some of the negatives before we jump on to the good parts of the evening. When an event is planned around the UNC Chapel Hill area, please be certain and point out the parking spots for the people. Secondly, refreshments are a must; the show was at a time which is close to dinner and you had to be there a good hour and half before just to find good parking spot. I am sure people would have paid for any kind of snacks or drinks while they were waiting for the doors to open. Okay Okay one last thing before I get to the good part, when I purchase my tickets allows me to pick my seats. Don’t choose my seats for me, I think with every concert and show I have attended I have been allowed to select my seat numbers based on when I purchased the tickets and what seats were available. Okay now that’s done, moving on to some positives.
You don’t realize the way South Asian population is growing in the area, until of course you are standing close to the entrance and seeing throngs of people walking in. When I was sitting in the auditorium I was transported back to India, the familiar scent of ponds talcum powder, sandalwood and jasmine wafted through the air. Melody of bangles jingling, glow from the sparkling earrings and glossy lips lighted up the evening further. It is fun to imagine how one was judging another, where people know the other was coming to the show but still acted shocked to see them there. The men were out in their suits, khakhis and polos. A happy hand wave here, a big smile there, tight hugs and cold shrugs were being witnessed. The best thing about this was that the show started exactly on time, given the Indian crowd that is an achievement to the utmost level.
You hardly get to see Indian theater in the area, so opportunities like these are infrequent. The play starts off in Lodi Gardens in India’s capital where two ex-lovers and best friends are meeting after a long time. The purpose of their meet is to clear out the misunderstandings between that separated them for 32 years. I won’t give out much in regards to the story of the play; because this is something you should experience yourself. The stage was set minimally; there were no flashy lights or backgrounds this was just pure acting and remarkable acting. The protagonists have many layers throughout the show, like an onion each layers are peeled and shown clearly. As the layers were being peeled you experience friendship through them, you saw a layer of lovers, and some peelings left you with teary eyes. In the two hours they were on the stage the three characters highlighted so many issues that India presents. Neena Gupta’s character (Hema Roy) was witty, strong, independent and romantic. Anupum Kher’s character (Pritam Chopra) was charming, funny, and overall delightful. Rakesh Bedi aka Mr. Raj Kapoor added his own charm to the show, with his runs. I think it was his runs in the show that kept the show connected and going, it added a fun element to it. Though on the stage there were only three characters, they were joined by many others remotely to add more flavor to it. I have to say being away from theater for a while Neena Gupta did an outstanding job, expressing anger, love and fierceness.
The first hour of the show flew by, and the second one was equally interesting. The humbleness that the actors showed, when they ended the play they thanked us truly like artists. Not some snobs Bollywood hotshots that some are known as, but someone who was just happy to perform and happier that we gave them the opportunity to perform for us. Only if they knew that it was our good luck that we got to experience true theater and acting close to home. No matter what I write about the play won’t be enough, until you watch it yourself. Because there is no point in my writing the story, when my words that you read will not be acted out in the same manner. If you missed it here in Raleigh area, hopefully you will catch it another place. I am glad I put my differences aside and went for it, what added to it being furthermore special was when mum remembered seeing plays like this with dad back home. New memories made, old memories remembered and many lessons learned from the play. One that is for sure is to live your life and that is one thing we hear over and over again from all of tinsel town.