Everything Personal – a taut and gripping play | Manohar Khushalani

A Review by Prof. Manohar Khushalani

Indian theatre professionals have been complaining about lack of contemporary indigenous playwrights. But a crop of new playwrights is emerging. Abhishek Bhattacharya’s ‘Nothing Will Happen Between Us’ and Anushka Ravi Shankar’s ‘Phoenix’ come to one’s mind. The latest new playwright to hit the horizon is Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a seasoned journalist; whose first play, ‘Everything Personal’, was presented by Yatrik under the direction of Bhaskar Ghosh. Incidentally, all the three plays were produced by the India International Center, though the first two were presented by Ruchika Theatre Group at IIC earlier.

 

Mukhopadhyay’s precisely written script is about what happens when Everything Personal leaks into the public domain.  The play revolves around a radio reality show. The show has listeners phoning in, and, using made-up names, answering very personal questions, hopefully truthfully – since they are promised by the Radio Channel that their identities will be kept concealed. The story revolves around two couples whose lives get intertwined due to the radio show. Vivek (Sunit Tandon) and Nupur (Rupali Sharma) are a lovey-dovey couple who have Ganesh, (Vishaal Sethia) and Madhuri (Isha Joshi) as frequent visitors, often coming over for dinner. Vivek is intrigued by the show and is uncontrollably attracted to it with his thrill-seeking temperament. As Vivek is artfully drawn in by the Radio Jockey (Aarti Nayar) to reveal intimate secrets of his life, it creates a turmoil in the lives of the remaining three. For one, Vivek had a previous relationship with Madhuri, which he confessed about on the radio show, without revealing her identity – though, it didn’t take long for the spouses to guess. As the shows progressed, the pressure of keeping the listeners entertained led to unprecedented brinkmanship on Vivek’s part. So much so, that he inadvertently revealed a deep dark secret of his life which shocked even the radio channel.

 

Bhaskar’s taught direction did full justice to Mukhopadhyay’s script which kept the audience on tenterhooks. Sunit Tandon’s rendition of an unfathomable liar, who keeps others guessing as to whether he was lying or not, was well crafted. Arti Nayar, Rupali Sharma and Vishaal Sethia gave competent performances. Sinia Dugal and Ramesh Thakur as Vivek’s parents provided the appropriate support, however, Isha Joshi needs to work on her voice projection. The play was not just entertaining, but it also examined some issues regarding the high expectations of the younger generation and marital loyalty in a contemporary framework. One hopes that the Playwright will continue to write and contribute to the Indian theatre scene.

Published Earlier in IIC Diary

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is Currently a Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he teaches are: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: www.onevorld.com and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: www.stagebuzz.org & www.stagebuzz.info He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He is an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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