Photo credits and courtesy: AGP World
Date: 13 March
Venue: Kamani Auditorium
“Barff” debuted last month during NSD’s Bharat Rang Mahostav. The play is written and directed by Saurabh Shukla who not only has done great work in films like Jolly LLB and many others but also in theatre as a director / actor. We have seen him on stage earlier and admired his skills in “Two to Tango, Three to Jive“. Due to prior commitments, we had missed “Barff” at NSD. Therefore, we jumped at the opportunity when the second shows were announced and watched it last Sunday.
The play is set on a snowy night in an abandoned village in Kashmir. The only residents – a taxi driver and his wife bring a doctor home to look at their ailing child. Saying more would be giving the plot away. However in the next span of one half hours or so, the audience is taking a roller coaster ride of fear, sentiments and even humour. The set, false snow and the haunting music in the background reminds us of Bhansali’s Black. Thank heavens the play has nothing to do with that.
The cast is a starry line-up: Vinay Pathak as the doctor, Sunil Palwal as the taxi driver and Sadia Siddique as the wife. Mainly being celluloid actors, it is refreshing to see them in hands on acting. Palwal and Siddique are great. Siddique manages to convey the animal instincts of a protective mother. However, Pathak, as the doctor is the best. He is poised and yet manages to take the audience through his changing emotions during the play. The character is very relatable – like one of us, generally confident but nervous in times of stress.
The play is decent but could be better. Just like TV commercials, when they have a celebrity endorsing a product, they just don’t work on the script…sadly so is in theater. This play has potential but a few irrelevant sub plots that just don’t add anything to the storyline, increases the duration of the play. This script can use some serious editing. With big actors, the hopes of audience are bigger and they expect something that they don’t get to see usually.
The sets and lighting are praiseworthy and they manages to create the mood of a snowy desolate night without distracting the audience from the main story or the cast.
The play ends with certain questions – existential issues that we encounter. We leave the theatre with the perennial dilemma – test of reality or leap of faith – which is more important?