The play is a satire on the religion fanatics and the use of religion for political gains. A madman who seeks shelter at Ram’s temple is thrown out by the worshipers. Manhandled by the temple-goers, the tramp proclaims to take Bhagwaan Ram out of the temple. The police constable comes to this madman’s rescue and saves him from the angry crowd. The play is the conversation between this madman and the constable. The madman turns out to be a well-read knowledgeable person, yet lunatic at his ways. Is the madman really a madman, or is more logical that people around him? Does the proclamation comes true?

The best (and the funniest and the most creative) part is the mash-up of characters from Mahabharata and Ramayana who are in a pickle – unsure and confused with the mix-up. These scenes are particularly enjoyable with the thought-provoking symbolism and innuendos.

Writer-director Makarand Deshpande delivers an excellent performance in his portrayal of central character – the madman. Nagesh Bhonsle has good comic timing and portrays constable well.

I watched this in Prithvi and the stage setup is marvelous. There is light fog in the whole auditorium which creates a feeling of being in the temple. Live music and light effects complement the performances. Especially the music at the start takes you to the mood inside a temple.

What does not work for this play is the length and over-philosophical narration of the writer. The first 60 minutes – first half – is done very well and is complete play in itself. The idea and philosophy is clear, the characters are sweet and it also has a good ending in itself. Sadly, the play does not stop there! The second half stretches the ideas of first half to the extent where it becomes boring. There are saving graces in the second half like the scenes involving the Vanara-sena, but they are few and far between. Dialogues are long and different words and metaphors to deliver same message.

Overall it is an average play. It could have been an amazing play with some tight edits!

AglaPlay Verdict: Average play, lengthy and overbearing at times.
AglaPlay Rating: 2.5/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 Hour+ 
Writer: Makarand Deshpande
Director:  Makarand Deshpande 
Cast: Makarand Deshpande (Madman),
Nagesh Bhonsle (Constable),
& Others

Below are few relevant links

Other Links
Few Scenes from the play
Origin of Ansh Group
Makarand Deskhpande Wikipedia

Nothing Like Lear

The performance is one of the ‘clown’ series plays devised by Rajat Kapoor. Borrowing central theme from Shakespearean tragedy ‘King Lear’, it is a comical spoof which retains all the pain and sufferings of the tragic hero of the original. The play is performed by single artist who plays two roles – one of a circus clown, a fool; and the other, of foolhardy hallow King Lear. In instances he picks up the roles of the daughters and other characters. The interweaving of the contemporary (fool) with literature (King) show how relevant and how poignant Shakespeare remain in today’s world. How the characters are still relevant in today’s world even if the kingdoms have long ceased to exist!

The play is done very well. Hats-off to the director Vinay Pathak and performed Vinay Pathak (Atul in few performances) for keep the audience entertained with single performer on stage for around 90 minutes with no props. The play is enjoyable as the clown – the fool – shows his antiques and also digs on contemporary trends. Equally impactful is the portrayal of darkness inside King Lear who is betrayed by her daughters. There is not much in terms of stage decoration and props, which lets audience focus on the character solely.

With all the greatness in the performance and the flawless execution, the play might still not be enjoyed by everyone. For one, the series is NOT Shakespeare’s King Lear – this one is not even an adaption. Secondly, the play uses a lot of references and tells the story in bits and pieces. I am really not sure if a person will be able to understand the story if he/she has not read the play earlier. Thirdly, the acts and dialogues of the ‘fool’ are more like a stand-up comedy and not much play-like. Because of these reasons, I wonder if at least some audience may not like or enjoy it. Make no mistake here, the performance is done very well and is intellectually simulating, but…

AglaPlay Verdict: Should Watch
AglaPlay Rating: 3/5
Language: English, Gibberish
Duration: 1 Hour 30 minutes (Approx.)
Writer:  Rajat Kapoor 
Inspired from: Shakespeare / King Lear
Director: Rajat Kapoor
Cast: Vinay Pathak

Below are few relevant links.

Rajat Kapoor Interview
Making of the Play - Rehearsal Series 
Review with Interviews - HT
Complete Play [Original]

Macbeth – What is Done is Done

This is the third imaginative, comical ‘clown’ theme adaptions of Shakespeare plays. The original tragedy is a story of power, greed, betrayal and consequences. Whether you know about the original play or not, is immaterial, as the tragedy of Macbeth is narrated in the first scene itself. What follows is a dark, involving comedy with the clowns as characters. The themes move across the evils that haunt humanity today, as Macbeth was about the evils that haunted the royal class then. Women-safety, racism, greed – even today’s political situation – are jibed at.

Rajat’s witches talk not only of the macabre or the future. They also scorn at our mobile phone uses. Macbeth is changed to Macky B, with a painted face, has a courtroom full of jokers. But mistake not, this Macky B is still haunted by the ghost of Banquo and still paints with the blood of innocents.

Rajat Kapoor does a marvelous job yet again as director. Picking up the underlying themes from the original and creates a whole new experience for audience. The creative freedom is used judiciously where the play borders on the right amount of comedy and darkness. Vinay Pathak as Spanish clown Pedro does an amazing job. Then there is Kalki and Tillotama Shome who put up a great show. Jim Sarbh as Julio is comical, sharp and is fun to watch.

A must watch, this play is easily among the most enjoyable plays around. The play has its shortcomings and may not be liked by certain audience due to the aberrations from the original. With them I will agree, but then, it was never supposed to be! Ranvir Shorey’s portrayal of Macbeth (sorry, Macky B) could have been better, but here again, I cannot judge him as I have not read/watched the original.

AglaPlay Verdict: Must Watch
AglaPlay Rating: 4.5/5
Language: English, Gibberish
Duration: 1 Hour 30 minutes (Approx.)
Writer:  Rajat Kapoor 
Inspired from: Shakespeare / Macbeth  
Director: Rajat Kapoor
Cast: Vinay Pathak (Pedro), 
Ranvir Shorey (Macky B),
Kalki  Koechlin (Witch & more),
Jim Sarbh (Julio), 
Tilotama Shome 
& Others

Below are few relevant links.

Play trailer 
Review on IndiaWest.com
Macbeth Complete Play [Original, contemporary English]

Ek Mamuli Aadmi

The play tells the story of last few years of Ishwar Chand, a retired man, who recently died. When his son tries to invite his father’s colleagues for the funeral, he receives the rude responses. Even the priest is not interested in attending to the rites. The son is in shock. After all, his father was a common man! What can a common man do to cause angst to so many people? Especially when the departed was such a simpleton as his dad. What is even more surprising that while even the dead’s colleagues excused themselves from attending final rites, there is crowd of seemingly unknown people who have come to pay a final visit. What can a common man do to inspire such respect from so many people? The play answers these questions and more by switching between Ishwar’s flashbacks and his office colleagues’ accounts, as the audience and Ishwar’s son learn about his father he never knew.

The play excels on all parameters. The portrayal of Ishwar by Aanjjan Srivastav is done so well that audience fails to differentiate between the performer and the character. Other characters also act very well, especially Niraj Pandey.

The play is a must watch and among the best performances in Mumbai theatre with an engaging script and tight screenplay. The play evokes complete spectrum of emotions and is highly recommended.

AglaPlay Verdict: Must Watch
AglaPlay Rating: 4.5/5
Language: Hindi 
Duration: 2 Hours (Approx.)
Writer:  Ashok Lal 
Director: Raman Kumar
Cast: Aanjjan Srivastav (Ishwar), 
Pramod Dubey,
Nivedita Baunthiyal,
Shivkant Lakhanpal, 
Akbar Khan, Niraj Pandey
& Others

Below are few relevant links. The play is inspired from Japanese movie ‘Ikuru’ whose trailer link is also provided.

Play performed by IIM Lucknow 
Review on HT [Potential Spoilers]
Ikuru (1952) Movie Trailer