Sunday, June 26, 2016

Code Mantra

Having become a milestone play for Gujarati rangbhoomi (theater), Code Mantra has all the elements to be so. It is the story of Second-in-command Ashwin Rathore who is accused of killing his brother Rahul Rathore, a junior officer in the same battalion. The story mainly unfolds itself in the army court where the audience witnesses the trial.

Apart from being an intriguing story where the defense lawyer leaves no stone unturned to prove her client innocent, this play is also excellent food for thought. We, as Indian audience, are used to movies and stories that glorify our army but Sneha Desai does not hesitate one bit to present some of its harsh realities. Anything in excess is always bad, so we have been told, and yet you cannot stop mulling over certain questions for hours after leaving the darkness of theater.
Sneha Desai must also be congratulated for her excellent onstage presence and impeccable timing. Pratap Sachdev wins over the hearts of the audience sitting right in the last row with his voice. Suraj Vyas is very convincing in his role too.

As much as the onstage team calls for an applause, so does the backstage team, because well, they are omnipresent! A play without blackouts, we see the backstage team changing the props scene after scene and yet not for a second does it hurt the eye, because in their military uniforms, they become so much as a part of the d├ęcor themselves. It takes dedication and hard work of another level to get your backstage marching in sync on stage. On the other hand, the set itself remains a little unimpressive with so many stairs and a lack of detailing.

Marathi theater has always been an inspiration to Gujarati plays, but it is proud moment when the world stops to take notice and this same play is adapted in both Hindi and Marathi. Go and watch it now in whichever language you can!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Translated from the original runes by Hermione Granger

So a muggle-born like me finally gets to lay my hands on this book! With librarian Mrs. Irma Prince around, it is difficult for non-Hogwarts student to find a book like this. I ignore the publishing date as The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Yes! You read it right!) have been around for centuries now. 

Reading this book can put you through an arena of emotions. One, you start asking yourself, "And why wouldn't this be real?" "Isn't there are real Ministry of Magic with a real Albus Dumbledore?" And just as you think about it, he whispers into your ears, "Of course it is in your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

Secondly, you want to weep at the genius of J K Rowling (Howw?? Just howww does she do it?) You either want to put on the Invisibility Cloak and sneak into her study and see the kind of research she does or you want to scan her brain to see which part of it creates all these fantasies. You can be a great fan of an author's writing style, but when the author herself becomes the ghost writer for Beedle the Bard, Albus Dumbledore and Mrs. Bloxam and presents three different styles of writing on three consecutive pages, it takes literature to a new level indeed. 

No literature is children's literature, claim many. Jean de La Fontaine writes about his fables, "Je me sers des animaux pour instruire les hommes.'' Millions of readers took lessons of wisdom from the conversations between Prof. Dumbledore and Harry and we are more than happy to continue to do so from Dumbledore's notes on each of the fables. 

A big thank you J K Rowling for creating a world so real and for concretising it a little more with each of your works.