Monday, February 25, 2008

Love Letters

Gurgaon has over the last few years begun to be known for many things - malls, Call Centers and BPOs and lack of infrastructure. Going to see a play, art exhibition or a music concert meant that one had to go to the cultural hub of Delhi. That could mean anything from an hours drive or more depending on the time of day when you hit the road. But that was then. We now have Epicentre (Apparel House, Sector 44, Gurgaon) - a complex that boasts of a lovely auditorium (it possibly has 300+ seats??), an art gallery, an amphitheatre, a restaurant, conference & banquet rooms and a 45000 sq ft exhibition hall. If you want to be on their mailing list, just write to info@epicentre.co.in
This month for instance had the Puppet Theatre putting up Almost Twelfth Night. Smita Bharati put up two plays there - As The Sun Sets and 45-35-55. Feisal Alkazi's A Matter of Life and Death.
Yesterday I went to the Epicentre to Rahul Da Cunha's version of ‘Love Letters’ . The Pulitzer award winning play written by AR Gurney, describes the romantic and poignant relationship between childhood friends Melissa Gardner (Shernaz Patel) and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III (Rajit Kapur) over fifty years. The story unfolds through the letters the two characters have written to one another. The play was first performed in 1988. Shernaz Patel is just so amazing in the way she brings the impetuous Melissa. Rajit Kapur is a versatile actor for but last evening's performance seemed just a tad short of expectations.
Inspired by Love Letters, Feroz Khan has directed Tumhari Amrita तुम्हारी अमृता adapted by Javed Siddqui and had Farooque Shaikh who plays the politician Syed Zulfiquar Haider and Shabana Azmi playing the painter Amrita Nigam. In 1996 I saw them perform at Darpan Academy in Ahmedabad. It was was perhaps in one of the most powerful performances I have seen in theatre. By the time the play ends, there was no dry eye in the audience and Shabana Azmi was so deeply entrenched in the character that she just sobbed long after the play was over.
There is also the sequel Aapki Soniya (आपकी सोनिया), directed by Salim Arif, starts from where Tumhari Amrita ends. It has been years since painter Amrita Nigam, whose relationship with politician Syed Zulfiquar Haider had spawned a series of letters and Tumhari Amrita, has died. If you have seen it, let me what you thought of it.

1 comment:

BRUTUS said...

I have seen AAPKI SONIYA......
Its a sequel to TUMHARI AMRITA..
It start from a letter to zulfiqar from some soniya from france.As the story unfolds this Soniya comes out to be daughter of AMRITA and hates AMRITA thinking that she left her in her childhood.Saga unfolds and there are clarifications and the portion of Amrita's life which was not depicted in TUMHARI AMRITA unfolds.

Feroz khan is as good as ever but SONALI BENDRE as Soniya lacks the charisma required for the powerful play.
After watching TUMHARI AMRITA ......Apki soniya looks like a lame sequel which in no way can do justice with TUHARI AMRITA.
pradeep
pradeepsinghraghav@gmail.com