(I am no professional. This review is just my understanding of theatre embedded into reviews by popular critics :P Not 100% original)
Date: 17 Oct 2010
Place: Prithvi Theatre
Play: Aaall Izz Well With Shuturmurgh
Direction: Ramesh Talwar
Cast: Aasif Shaikh, Bharat Kapoor, Rakesh Bedi, Vignesh Sinkar, Prashant Padale, Akhilendra Mishra, Kuldeep Singh, Rashmi Sharma, Manju Sharma
Length: 2 hours
When Ostrich is surrounded by enemies, it buried its head and neck in sand and pretends that there is no ememy outside, pretends to be unaware of its bosy outside the sand. In the play, Ostrich or Shuturmurg is referenced many times, representing humans today. The play is an answer to current issues like CWG Corruption, Elephant Statues in UP and Vidarbha Farmers.
The story starts with a king of ShuturNagri and his three ministers. Then there is the common man, a naive wife, a hunger stricken maid and a reformer. The king of this land has only one obsession: to build a golden Shuturmurg in memory of his father and in order to do so, he spends the entire kingdom's money thus leaving its people poor, hungry and homeless. Virodhilal protests against the building of the Shuturmurg and thus becomes a representative of the common man. However he is quickly bribed and transformed to Subodhilal and made into the Vikas Mantri of Shuturmurg.
When the common man learns that their leader has been bought over, he gets very upset and decides to stand up for the poor. We also see that the queen's chamber maid is starving of hunger herself because her family back home does not have food to eat.
The scene with the queen and the old hungry man dying is the most powerful scene in the play. The naive queen has never seen a dying man before and wants to experiment on one to see how their hunger problem can be solved. It is an attempt to tell us how oblivious the rich man is to the poor man's plight.
Ultimately the King is abandoned by his ministers and shrewdly robbed of all his treasures. The King then begins to appreciate the value of the common man who only wants to bring justice to the people of Shuturmurg.
The act of the old dying man is played really well by Kuldeep Singh. Bharat Kapoor and Rakesh Bedi (Mohan Srivastava of Yes Boss) acting was consistent throughout the play. the gay king role was played very well by Aashif Sheikh. The lead roles were able to carry themselves well, neither too good nor too bad. Among the actors with small stage presence, Kuldeep Singh (old man playing the role of dying hungry old man) was exceptional and live while Rashmi Sharma (the lady who played the role of the queen) was mediocre and at times irritating.
I am still singing the title song. The music captured the mood of the play well.
The costume of all the characters was ordinary and as expected. The king's props were funny and were used optimally. The use of irritating ping pong by the king to accentuate his gay character was creative and smart.
1) Why was the king gay? What was the writer trying to tell us with that?
2) Why did the king have to lose at the end? Did the write want us to conclude that some politicians lose? It was fine in the age when kings ruled. The king who believed his ministers too much would be doomed could have been the moral. But in today's setting, when king is representing politicans, it does not make sense.