I had been touched by the famous Indian movie Ruldaali, played by the enigmatic Dimple Kapadia, to such a great level, that I was sceptical to see a play on it. I didn’t want anything to change the way I felt for the subject. But, I was proven wrong by Amit Ohdedar and his team.
Prayas has done another good production and a difficult one to that, by touching such a sensitive subject.
The mood was set brilliantly by a live orchestra headed by Kim, Vidhit, Ahi and the lead vocalist, Moushumi Das. They did a wonderful job of setting the mood of a Rajasthan village, just by the music. That was enough to get us into the life of the characters.
Shanichari, the protagonist was played by Patricia Vichmann. She did a marvellous job of showing the sorrow “within” – something that is difficult in theatre due to lack of close-ups. She had the character intact till the very end. Her dear and only friend Bhikni, played by Monica, had all the charm of a mature woman, and the love that she gets into Shanichari’s life was well portrayed.
A good mention has to be made of the male cast, all of whom were very much in character and showcased the support or the lack of it, that the women face in the rural Indian society.
The entire production was a great team effort with every cast and crew contributing to the hilt, which is, for me, the best part of any theatre production. The choreography, art, music and lights were well synchronised, making the drama gripping to the end.
The subject itself was handled well with a sprinkle of humour here and there. The “carnival” and dance sequence within the play was a pleasant surprise.
Kudos to the producer, Sudeepta, for supporting such ventures, which ensure that the Indian ethos is maintained in the art and cultural field here in New Zealand.
It was a “prayas” that was very much worthwhile.
Directed by Amit Ohdedar and Margaret Mary Hollins
Assisted by Ahi Karunaharan
Produced by Sudeepta Vyas
Assisted by Zetin Moza, Satya Akula, Gaurav Bradoo
Costume and make up: Padma Akula and Monica Mahendru
Creative Director, Photography: Bhavnesh Soni