Absolutely mesmerising…… Lassanwala takes the audience through a medley of emotions…. from pathos, “pandit pandit ko dhoka dego”, to humor, “sprinkling gangajal on pods of garlic”, to ambition, deceit, treachery, and false beliefs. From conceit to humility to finally, the awakening of the chief protagonist Kallu. Superb acting by its ten member ensemble leaves the audience spellbound. One and half hours just breeze away leaving the audience satiated by the brilliant performance of every character.
The beautiful folk music of Uttar Pradesh, “chal gaura toku mela dekha laun haridwaar ko” and the teaching and songs of Sant Kabir, “kaal khara sar ke uppar….mat kar maya ka abhimaan, kaaya kaanch se kachchi”, rendered melodiously by its energetic bunch of talented musicians takes you to an era which you fear is fast disappearing.
The sweetness of the Khadi Boli and shudh hindi language adds to the magic that the play weaves.
Kallu’s journey from a staunch brahmin buried in his firm belief that janaeu clad brahmins are superior gets shattered when he realises that the mama bhanja duo Pandeys who fleece him of his crop are unscrupulous. Gullu, his honest helper on the contrary understands the plight of his master and is willing to go behind bars though being an untouchable and proves to be more sincere and loyal to him then them. Janeau did not make a person more noble.
His irresponsible son idles away his time in drugs, drinks and smokes beedi, while his wife Rani is a fiesty young woman weaving dreams of a beautiful life in Mumbai, yearning for cosmetics and creams; bickering at Kallu about their poor livelihood. Dhanua falls into the trap of false dreams shown to him by his scheming childhood friend Vicky essayed by Hemant Pandey the director. He dreams of shortcuts to prosperity and glamour, a life of fancy cars and gadgets and flashy phones. He fakes sickness and with the help of an impostor who comes in the garb of a doctor and tries to fleece his dad of his savings. The once arrogant Kallu, who would not accept a glass of water from Gullu or shake hands with a lower caste official, now humbled embraces and feeds Gullu with his own hands and with the support of the honest inspector and constable, gets him justice.
The play ends with good punch lines and humor from the inspector which lightens the mood.
A well directed play with myriad moods. An absolutely awesome start to the first entrant in the META annual weekly theatre festival held in Delhi between 4th to 9th March
By Prabha Jain