Image source: Aadyam.co.in
Venue: Kamani Auditorium
Date: 27th & 28th May 2017
Its the weekend and we are having all sorts of the weather across the country. But Aadyam has been raining theatre during mid year last three years or so. It is presenting Bandish 20 – 20000Hz, a play written and directed by Purva Naresh, in Mumbai this weekend, 17 – 18 June 2017 at Jamshed Bhabha Theatre: NCPA. We were fortunate to watch this production at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi recently.
Bandish – crudely translated to “restriction” is also ironically a fixed melodic composition in Hindustani classical music. The play Bandish 20 – 20000Hz deals with fixations, limitations and embargos that musicians have faced through times. Some bandishes imposed by the government, some by society and now, some by social media. The play is a conversation between two older singers of Baithaki and Nautanki styles with two young performers of current popular music. While both the generations have their own highs and lows, hits and misses, successes and struggles, they eventually find common ground for the cause of music.
It is needless to say that a play that has it’s base in the stories of singers would have a fair amount of musical renditions. The actors break into songs off and on. Given that the noted musician Shubha Mudgal composed the sound track, it is no surprise that the performances are high standard Hindustani classical. The track contains off beat light Hindustani classical numbers, some accompanied by semi classical Kathak based dance. It brings to life on stage an era we could have only imagined. The play is quite like a musical and reminds us of the play “Gauhar” that we reviewed last year. The script is interspersed by liberal sprinkling of humor that helps to diffuse the serious issues that the play discusses.
In fact, most of the witty lines are in the script of Munnu played by Danish Hussain. We have been enthralled by his comic timing in the earlier Aadyam production “Loretta“. Hussain emerges as the jester in Bandish as well. He is the jester, not a clown. Hence, Hussain manages to express the seriousness of the situation even through fun dialogues. In fact the wonderful ensemble cast go on energetically through the songs – dances and lines and time flies faster than we would want it to.
Director Purva Naresh, who is trained in classical music and dance has put together an amazing show with smooth transitions in the acts, a clear but statement that is most impressive. Transcending eras, an artist’s life is a fight for survival. But also for the art. Perhaps with this intent Naresh’s script develops even the smallest character to explain its presence. Therefore, no actor tries to shadow the other and even the smallest character is of utmost importance.
Bandish is a spectacular yet soulful play. The rich music in the play is the cherry on the icing. Classical music has always flourished under patronage. Bandish 20 – 20000Hz provides a platform to the cause of such music and artists who we so easily forget. Music – dance – drama – heart – this is a complete production.
If you are a theatre aficionado, or a music buff or just want to watch the first play and see how it goes, this is the piece to watch. Bandish 20 – 20000Hz doesn’t have any dull moment – it entertains and yet makes us think.