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Ishani Chatterji reviews Gillo's 'KYU KYU LADKI'

Christmas morning brought with it some presents and a great play. A great CHILDREN’S play I may add…

The recipe to an adorable children’s play would be: questions, colorful costumes, music, some more questions, dance and more and more questions…

Gillo Gilheri’s Kyun Kyun Ladki, directed by Shaili Sathyu has all of these ingredients in it, hence making it an adorable play and a must watch for all age groups, not just children. The play is based on Mahasweta Devi’s Why Why Girl.  The play was first performed at Summertime at Prithvi in 2011.

As the audience began to pour in, I noticed how there were fewer children than adults.  As the lights began to dim, signaling that the play is about to start, I could feel the excitement as though I were a child myself.

The play has 3 sets of stories going on simultaneously. The story of innocent Aamna who has lost her mother and wishes to go up in to the moon to be with her. Amana’s innocent questions are almost heart breaking and so are her actions as she decides to pack up and leave to go and live with God. Besides Amana, there is young Gaurav who wishes to stay back in the village with his unwell Nana and friends. But the main story is that of the “kyun kyun ladki” Moyna, a tribal girl, who faces daily hardships but never looses her joi de vivre attitude. Her life is very different from that of the city bred children. She doesn’t have the time to go to school, instead works hard in the fields to support her family. Moyna questions everything, from why she needs to go far to fetch water to why does she need to eat leftover food but seldom gets an answer for anything.
Moyna’s life is not what a young girls should be but nevertheless one cannot help but love her assertiveness and enthusiasm. Her questions would make the audience wonder about the zillion Moynas across the country that live with such difficulties. But Moyna’s questions find an answer in the village schoolteacher who notices her thirst for knowledge and pushes her towards books and education.

The director, Shaili Sathyu has filled the play with dance and various movements. The actors play multiple roles, not just themselves but if the need be, they change into objects and animals as well. The set used is not very elaborate. It consists of wire in the shape of animals that is suspended from above.  Lights were used beautifully to show the darks of the night or shutting of doors. What I enjoyed the most in the play was that at no given point of time, the actors were out of character. Moyna remained the wild tribal girl she is throughout the play. But above all, the laughter of the children around me was a good enough sign that they enjoyed it as well. Overall, the play does a good job of providing education along with enjoyment. It has something to offer to everyone. And the play left me with wanting to be a child again and explore the magical world of questions.