Most plays on Tagore land up being linear narrations as to how great he was. Few manage to capture the spirit of Tagore as a free thinker.
In the play Color Blind, this facet of Tagore has been deftly explored by Kalki Koechelin, as the playwright, who we know as a Bollywood actress. The sensitive portrayal of various stages of Tagore’s life, with special emphasis on his friendship the Argentinean author Victoria Ocampo, succeeds in bringing Tagore closer to the people. Additionally, Tagore’s encounter with separation by way of untimely deaths of his mother – wife – children – muse has challenged him throughout his life. Consequently, he has been stoic, almost romantic, about death and a host of his works (not tragedies) has been his expression after the death of a dear one. This interesting angle has been interwoven with the various stages of Tagore’s life portrayed in the play.
Depicted in a very abstract style, the play also brings glimpses from the magnitude of Tagore’s work – songs, poetry, novels, essays and paintings. Through various characters that were created by him, the non linear narrative goes back and forth in time, and is ably supported by Robindrasangeet in Bangla and poetry in French, sans any translation.
Being staged in Delhi, the wide use of Bangla / French could have been an impediment. But director Manav Kaul’s approach is successful in breaking linguistic boundaries and the audience succeeds to absorb the essence of the play in the small duration of 75-80 minutes.
This was staged as a part of Old World Theatre Festival and we were pleasantly surprised to see such a worthy old wine in new bottle approach.