First of all, let me start by applauding for the brilliant trailer made for one of the 2 plays Do-Nar. Bangman V Sperman : Donor of Justice promised loads of fun. Maybe that, and the theme of the play being sperm donation is responsible for the packed AC seminar Hall. And mind you, like me, the audience here were willing to sacrifice some pretty crucial hours of sessional preparations to watch this Tamasha. Certainly, expectations were huge.
The anticipated play had two guys – Raghav and Pareek, fighting for the claim of a better sperm. The storyline was vague and some plot devices a little too weird. But it’s also the most fun I’ve ever had watching a play in Manipal.
The start itself was hilarious – a disclaimer followed by a dance sequence on FAN’s title track. There were tons of self referential, fourth-wall breaking (Deadpoolesque) jokes that brought the house down. All credits to the brilliant writing by Rahul Pareek (who also plays one of the two leads).
The style is similar to the reality show Comedy Circus with a certain slapstick Bollywood feel added to it and sprinkled with few running gags (Draconis Vulgaris, Spiderman comics and the left-right confusion). The dirty jokes were skillfully restrained, yet hilarious.The actors were certainly having fun, but wished they had a bit more. Some of the jokes, although were funny, didn’t bring the chuckles it deserved due to a comic timing gone wrong.
Do-nar serves its purpose of tickling our funny bones. It left me ask for more.
Pulling off a serious play is no joke. Because, if done wrong, the audience would think it as a joke. Aaina’s Hayavadana is a (sad) proof. Writer Deepanvita Roy sets up an interesting premise. A retired Army man has finally said yes to his granddaughter Neha’s choice of her life partner. But is the decision right, given the dark past of her to-be husband Aryan?
For the first half of the play, the story sails through smoothly and had kept me invested. But the moment things turn serious, the proceedings feel like a never ending loop. There’s one angry conversation after another, with no props change, except for the last act. Fortunately, the final act gains great momentum and gives a satisfying climax. Save for Utkarsh Srivastava who nails it as Aryan (specially in the Riddhima story monologue), I felt that the acting could have done with a bit more brushing. That’s a department that Aaina never gets wrong.
Needless to say, there were chuckles for even a scene where Aryan is sexually assaulting Neha. Now that is either a scene that could have been done better, or a problem that can never be fixed (we as audience are always finding humor in everything). But still, there were fewer such instances compared to other serious plays I have witnessed.
Shades had its intentions and message intact. All it needed was a little more of plot/character development, and a couple more rehearsals.
Overall, ADA makes an impressive start to the year. There were a few more nitpickings like the random on-off in lights which spoiled parts of the play (probably a technical error). We could also have done without the hastily done hosting part. But again, the team needs a bow for attempting something like Do-Nar.
Granted, serious plays tests the range of everyone’s talent. But comedies give the audience and the crew – a chance to let their hair down and have fun. Hope there are more such light-hearted productions in the future.
A sequel to Do-Nar maybe? And if you do keep it, you better book the library auditorium.
The hilarious trailer I was talking about :