Theater/Play review: - ‘Chaar small’, par sirf naam mein.

“Dost, chaar small dena”! In any other situation this would have sounded like an order at a bar counter but here we were finally, after braving the horrible traffic of a typical Mumbai evening, at the booking window of Prithvi Theater,Juhu. Chaar Small by T-Pot productions was playing that evening. A collection of 4 short stories centered around a bar is what one could guess, from the poster displayed outside the venue.
The humour was served right on toast by the cast, with an introductory aarti asking the viewers to put their phones on silent!  Pretty innovative I thought. The lighting, set, innovative posters (one to back the above aarti), a superb live band etc just created the perfect ambience for the spirits to soar further!
Once the stories/acts start spanning out one after the other, you realize that the common link in all of these is not the bar but it is the city of Mumbai. The city of aspirations and thus migrations, underlying issues and yes humanity or what is famously called as the spirit of Mumbai, forms the crux around which the plays revolve. The bar just provides a perfect setting for the stories to evolve. After all what is Mumbai without its famous nightlife.
Purva Naresh's Do Deewaney, Sanjay Dadhich's Daddu Tiwari and Trishla Patel's Lash-ting Impressions and Ghar Ghar all centered around the above theme
The first act is Do Deewaney, a sweet love-story about Amar, a local boy, and Arifa, a migrant girl from UP. The difference in their personalities, their aspirations, perspective of life etc is bought about beautifully intervened with the character of Mumbai, through this play. Beautiful lyrics, background score and the ‘bhelpuri’ chemistry between the two protagonists immediately transports you to a bollywood love story. The climax however sends home the shocking message that Life in this city is equally unpredictable as the mood of its people.
The second act is Lash-ting Impressions, which simply is the amazingly well executed ‘creative keeda’ of the lot. The central character is a shape shifting emotional pothole which in Mumbaiya language is called Khadda. This khadda is given a life and the life around the colony where it resides, is seen through its perspective. Hat’s off to the actor for breathing life into such an inanimate role. His presentation (costume and make up), expressions, body language steal the show. The character is ably supported by the numerous cast members (especially the human gate formation) all throughout the act which keeps the lively tempo going besides adding to the creative spark.
The third act is a narrative - Daddu Tiwari. The story of a migrant boy whose childhood shuttles between his native village and Mumbai. How the experiences affect him and eventually mould him as a person is showcased through the act. Wonderfully crafted comic sequences, that add able support to the narrative , have you in splits throughout the play. However felt it ended on a bit scattered note. Nevertheless the fact is that of the lot, this somehow manages to leave a bigger lasting impression over the others.  Maybe the fact that one relates to most of the sequences helped it achieve so.
The last one is Ghar Ghar, a story of how a place that was once someone’s house, has fallen prey to the mad development in the city and is now a bar. This is the most masala act of the lot and is liberal in its use of bollywood elements and situations.
Usually when one sees a compilation of short plays, you're bound to get impressed with at least one fine act. Perhaps that's what the makers of such concepts aim for. However in the case of Chaar small you are spoilt for choice. Personally would like to rank the short stories/acts as follows (first to last):-
•Daddu Tiwari- for the sheer powerful narration and comic relief.
•Lash-ting Impressions- for the amazing creative concept and use of stage, elements and seamless co-ordination of multiple actors.
•Do Deewaney- for the depiction of the sweet romance in the city that somehow has become rare to spot these days & lastly.
•Ghar Ghar- a decent attempt, but the script could have been stronger especially when compared to the rest. However the presentation and performances make up for it.
This original play is directed by Trishla Patel, who deserves a standing ovation for pulling this off.  Chaar small may have the word ‘small’ in its name but definitely packs a ‘Patiala punch’ when it comes to creating an impact.
“Dost aur chaar small lana”!


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