Bali aur Shambhu

Bali aur Shambhu‘ tells story of two roommates in an old-age home. Shambhu who was staying alone in his room for long. When Bali comes to stay in the same room, Shambhu does not take this ‘encroachment’ well. The solitude of cantankerous Shabhu is further disturbed by Bali’s endless banters. Many (funny) verbal fights ensue between the two, resulting in a relationship which can pass as friendship. Both have some happiness and some sorrows from the past. What is it that they are hiding? What are their sorrows which really haunt these two roommates?

The play is a masterpiece. The play is very well written, supported by strong execution by the cast. The director-writer Manav Kaul deserves appreciation for bringing such plays which are not only entertaining, but also talk of the issues which concern old age people. The contrasting characters are developed well through the play. The duration and timings are just so well-balanced! The music and lighting during dance sequences is apt and fits beautifully as reminiscence of old times.

This is an amazing play which delivers a beautiful story performed by two veteran actors – Sudhir Pandey and Kumud Mishra. This play is rather low-key, with not many performances and publicity. I just hope that this is taken up for more shows, because this play definitely deserves that. The play will be good even for younger audience, who may not connect wholly with the pain of characters but will enjoy Shambhu’s mischief and Balu’s banters!

AglaPlay Verdict: Must Watch
AglaPlay Rating: 4/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: 1 Hour 30 Minutes 
Writer: Manav Kaul
Director:  Manav Kaul 
Cast: Kumud Mishra (Bali),
Sudhir Pandey (Shambhu),  
& Others

Below are a few relevant links. The link to the whole script from Manav’s blog is also provided for those who may not be able to watch live performance.

Other Links
Bali OR Shambhu? By The Cast
Play Script

Naha Le Re Bhai

Naha Le Re Bhai is a satire on Indian bureaucracy and judicial system. It is a collection of short scenes, each having one short story. The namesake case filed by wife seeking divorce from her husband is brought to the court as the last case of the play. The court employees also have standalone scenes with funny one-liners and jibes at government, society and beliefs.

Few of the scenes and one-liners are done well and entertains the audience. The performance of Vedika Singh as the plaintiff for the namesake case is spontaneous and memorable. Other actors also fit the role. The weak link is the script itself which doesn’t have much to offer. The dialogues and over-dramatizations coupled with few over-stretched scenes kick the fun out of the play.

The play touches on few serious issues and concerns which are left untold by media and government. The problem is that it fails miserably in connecting with audience. Partly the problem lies with Mumbai audience – it is tough enough for them (us) to visualize a free flowing river and a village. It only becomes tougher (impossible) to sympathize or connect with the cost of development or the cost of our tap water to such villages. But mostly, the problem is with the weak and uninteresting execution.

AglaPlay Verdict: Avoid
AglaPlay Rating: 1/5
Language: Hindi 
Duration: 1 Hour 15 minutes (Approx.)
Writer:  Santosh Tiwari 
Director: Chitransh Pawar
Cast: Santosh Tiwari , 
Vedika Singh, Asif Hussain, 
Reet Kaur, Jitender Singh,  
Naveen Sandhu, Gaurav Singh, 
Shalini Hirani, Neeraj Singh, 
Surabhi Darji 

Below are few relevant links. The whole performance is available on the YouTube channel of director Chitransh Pawar, link provided below.

Complete Play on YouTube

Sir Sir Sarla

Sir Sir Sarla play is about internal conflicts playing in minds of a professor and two of his students. Professor Palekar teaches literature (and philosophy). Two of his closest students were Phanidhar and Sarla. Phanidhar continues to stay with his teacher years after graduation while Sarla is married (to another of his students, Keshav). The three characters are in a continuous state of conundrums and doubts. Their actions and philosophies contradict each other several times as the story unfolds. What is it that remains unsaid among the three?

Makrand Deskhpande, who is also the director and the writer of the play has done marvelous job on all fronts. It is a well-written, well-directed performance with good acting. Portrayal of Sarla as a bubbly, moody character is nicely done by Kumra. However, one who aces is Sanjay Dadhich. In his role as Phanidhar, he gets some of the best lines and steals audience attention from the other two characters with his one-liners.

The downside is the long duration of the play which stretches north of 2 hours which is long for this content. There are opportunities of few edits here and there to make the presentation sharper. Overall it is a good play with good performances.

AglaPlay Verdict: Good Play
AglaPlay Rating: 3/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 Hour+ 
Writer: Makarand Deshpande
Director:  Makarand Deshpande 
Cast: Makarand Deshpande (Prof. Palekar),
Sanjay Dadhich (Phanidhar),
Aahana Kumra (Sarla) 
& Others

Below are a few relevant links.

Other Links
Makarand Deshpande on casting and play
Origin of Ansh Group
Interview of Makarand and Aahana
Makarand Deskhpande Wikipedia

Bus Tum aur Hum

This is a collection of many individual stand-alone situations (around 17 scenes as per AnkTheatreGroup). The scenes are from day-to-day common interactions between a coupe who have been married for two decades now. Trips, food, children, career etc for the points of discussions.

This low key play features Preeta Mathur and Aman Gupta, who share amazing on-stage chemistry. They had provided us the memorable couple of ‘Hai Mera Dil’ and short-lived yet memorable affair in ‘Jaat Hi Poocho Sadhu Ki’. The chemistry is still there, but the overall package is mediocre at its best. The performance suffers from the very weak script, which even the duo fail to lift up.

This is very average and mediocre presentation. The energy and talent of the actors are wasted in enacting this script. Even the shows of this play is rare, perhaps respecting the audience’s feedback.

I will still recommend the play if it is being performed next door to yours and, you have to kill a few hours with nothing better to do.

AglaPlay Verdict: Avoid
AglaPlay Rating: 1/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: 1 Hour+ 
Writer: Veena Bakshi
Director: Veena Bakshi
Cast: Preeta Mathur Thakur,
Aman Gupta.

Below are a few relevant links.

Other Links
Ank Theatre Group Shows

The Truth

This hilarious, captivating play on extra-marital affairs is originally written by award-winning playwright Florian Zeller. The protagonist, KC, is having an extra-marital affair. He is in habit of lying to (mostly) unsuspecting wife. With little inhibitions, KC authors new lies every second, and then lies more, to support the previous lie. As if the life was not pretty complicated for our hero already, his affair is with his best friend Zed’s wife Lovelin! The play explores the attempts of KC to hide the truth from everyone, and more…

Naseeruddin Shah is an amazing actor. But the perfection with which he embodies KC, is beyond anything I have seen from Mr Shah. He is spontaneous, he is funny and even in the darkest of his acts, audience can’t help but sympathize with the character. Ratna and other characters also are very relatable. The dialogues and the screenplay are crisp.

It is a great fun and one of the most enjoyable plays. The topic is a bit, you know, adult(er)y, hence not recommending it for teens and children, otherwise this is a great play which will be enjoyed by everyone. However, Motley has self-rated it (A), for 18+ years audience only.

AglaPlay Verdict: A must watch with your partner
AglaPlay Rating: 4/5
Language: English
Duration: 1 Hours 30 Minutes 
Writer: Florian Zeller
Director: Ratna Pathak Shah
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah (KC),
Meher Mistry / Shruti Vyas (Lovelin),
Ratna Pathak / Avantiak Akrekar (KC's Wife),
Arghya Lahiri / Gaurav Sharma (Zed)

Below are a few relevant links. This is a popular, great play with many reviews on internet – all positive. But please do not read other online reviews as few of these unknowingly have gone in too much detail on the story-line and may spoil your fun. Do note that even the official trailer for this play mutes the dialogues.

Other Links
Official Trailer
Naseeruddin Shah Wiki
Ratna Pathak Wikipedia