4 Corners - What's New in Bombay


While health authorities suggested everyone should stay indoors to avoid getting the swine flu, theatre folk across the city braved the he
avy rain to make it to rehearsal. How else can you explain the premiere of no less than a dozen new plays, and that too even before the 'theatre festival' season has started.

Jaise Kitabon Mein Mile’ marks the return of Adakaar Theatre Group after many years. The hoardings outside Globus and Juhu, boasts of what should be a commercial sell-out. However early responses at Prithvi haven't been too encouraging. Time will tell whether this play develops into a hit.

Ramu Ramanathan is in self imposed theatre exile. Giving up his post at PT Notes almost two years ago, the man hasn't been seen near a theatre. And boy have we missed him. Now he's back...or rather his words are back. This time, Mohit Takalkar has decided to take on Ramu's new play ‘Kashmir Kashmir’. It is a combination that has audiences mouths watering. With Radhika Apte, Sagar Deshmukh, Sarang Sathaye and all the Aasakta regulars this promises to be quite a treat on the 11th and 12th of September at Prithvi.

A few years ago, Darshan Jariwalla and Mandira Bedi starred together (but not quite) in two monologues entitled 'Laughing Wild'. Once again they have teamed up with director Vikranth Pawar to bring to the stage ‘Conditions Apply
. Clearly one for the commercial houses, the play opens on the 20th of September at the Tata Theatre.

The 26th of September is going to be the clash of titans at the NCPA.
In the experimental corner you have QTP's Some Girl(s), a lovely relationship based play about a man who is trying to make amends by visiting all his ex-girlfriends before he gets married. He seems to be seeking closure. The play marks the stage debut of two of Bombay’s best loved personalities, RJ Tarana (of Jaggu & Tarana fame) and Channel V’s VJ Juhi.
Meanwhile across the garden at the NCPA Tata, Cyrus Broacha makes a come back after almost a decade away with ‘Cyrusitis’. And part stand up comedy part revue piece with Kunal Vijayakar.

And then there is the much awaited ‘S*x, M*rality & Cens*rship’ by the dream team of Sunil Shanbag, Sh
anta Gokhale and Irawati Karnik. The play has taken many months to put together, and revolves around a 1970s Bombay around the time when 'Sakharam Binder' was premiered. This really looks like the play to watch out for. The play opens on the 29th of September at the Prithvi.

The rest of the year looks exciting too. Some great playwrights are about to be brought to the stage. Debutante director Abhishek Saha is taking on Girish Karnad's ‘Bali - The Sacrifice’. Shabana Azmi is going to feature in Karnad's monologue, 'Heap of Broken Images'. Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal is continuing her association with Eve Ensler by directing 'I Am An Emotional Creature' for November.
Neeraj Kabi is taking a break from his regular workshops to work on something for Delhi's Ibsen Festival January and Avaan Patel is putting together an ambitious production of Michael Frayn's ‘Copenhagen’. New kids to the Bombay block, Theatrician are doing two versions (not sure why?) of Agatha Christie's 'The Mousetrap'. Also Ashvin Gidwani is planning to do a version of Bernard Slade's evergreen hit ‘Same Time Next Year’.

No round up of new plays is complete without the presence of AKvarious in the list. They are working on Pedro Almodovar's 'All About my Mother’. This marks the return to the director's chair for 'Dad' Akash Khurana, who has had an incredibly busy year with performances in ‘Proof’, ‘Waiting for Godot’, ‘Antigone’, etc.

The rest of the regulars are not far behind. Manav Kaul is returning from his hiatus in Bangalore to begin work on something new with his group aRanya, and the ever active Rage are putting together a series of monologues.

So all in all it promises to be a really exciting next few months. Watch this space for more details as they unfold.

- Himanshu Sitlani

Actor, Producer & theatre junkie at large.