Monday, August 11, 2008

mptf - act ii

Aha, the crowds were back on Thursday eve to witness moby dick or is that the way they would like to hear it and get accused of being branded moby dick for a man's mobile phone to ring! despite the a nutshell as a fellow blogger Sudhir put it across ultra creative! ultra ambiguous!! and yet this solo performance for one required some knowledge about the life of moby dick which perhaps half the crowd knew nothing about so I could guess the confusion. But for the other half who I guess knew what they saw there it was all for you the ever ruthless moby dick, the beautiful white sperm whale, graceful in its movements all brought alive by the performer(Carlo Adinolfi) with his props, with perfect steps and a doubly perfect sound and light coordination that none could find fault with. The tete a tete interaction that followed the show was informative of course I was just too glad that N.Ram has raised the very valid query on whaling and conservation (guess me too was waiting to gun him nay harpoon him on that). While commending on the ingenuity of the props which were amazing what surprises me was the brochure tells me that the performance was to last 70 minutes! But on stage what we saw was 60 minutes!! of course it was clear that the last scene wasn't yet over and yet the ignorant half of our audience began its applause, guess they had enough of it!!! And the plays on friday and saturday sorry am gleefully ignorant, friday of course had my radio I missed the Presidential address leave alone see who it was! And saturday WOW could not afford to miss the Chennai Food Guide meet (an orkut group) Mmmmm am drooling!! thinking of The Farm, what a place on OMR and the food was awesome. Wish we could have one more CFG meet on The Farm.

And its time for the last day last show at the mptf, well criticism apart thanks and no thanks for all that went well and didn't go well!! And what a way to end the festival that had its ups and downs with a marvelous compere who scripted his talk so perfectly. Trust Vijay Marur did his part very well! and Chennai!! don't let him to go to Hyderabad!!! He's one of the really good compere's we've seen in a long while. And about 'The Suit', trust me I still haven't got the right words to describe this intense play, but then the story was such and the actors simply simply played their roles so wonderfully intense that am at a loss to criticise Neelam M. Chowdhry. Of course the story of Can Themba was tweaked around not just a bit, but then why on earth are we trying to conform to a cliche and then punish those who want to break free! Ah well that's an issue for our society to debate on (and at my end all that can be said is Man is a social animal, A social animal needs a variety, And variety is the spice of life!). Adding some spice to the whole thing was Vajinder's display of his 6 pack abs...ooh la la...exhibitionism! And yes N. Mansingh Chowdhry defended herself to a large extent on the acts and roles portrayed during the tete a tete but then as she made it clear she didn't want to take a stand and yet the irony remained. But guess one thing that went sadly unnoticed was the physical presence of and importance to the background accompaniments i.e. the artists who provided the sound effects, in fact it a rare event these days to prominently notice the accompanying artists providing the background score along with the performers on stage... like in the good old days! Perhaps that's what life and theatre is all about, the schism between the reel and the real, and amidst this remains many a thing to be discovered.

Now apart from the play once again I must question the organisers the logic behind staging 'The Suit' towards the end. Am certainly of the view that a lighter one would have gone well with the crowds. And am not finding fault with the play or the reasoning behind having it on a Sunday evening but a play of this nature should have been categorized in a different manner. I guess you should rethink on categorising plays on the lines of theme based or issues. The organisers of such a premier festival have a bounden duty in addition to the seminars and workshops hosted to educate the general public in a subtle way. I strongly believe that it is one of the noble objectives of The Hindu to evolve public opinion on issues that concern the general public and definitely you should not lose sight that theatre is a powerful media that helps shape public opinion.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Metroplus Theatre Fest. '08 - phase 1

Guess all that begins well ends well and the Korean group that was set to begin with the Midsummer Nights Dream...Hmmm as usual come Friday and I miss it anyways, the flip side being I enjoyed my radio it was great music on friday the 1st of Aug. '08 - 214th day of the year, so that's a wash out for me....Now for Day-2 - trust me Rajit Kapoor and Shernaz Patel were simply superb and yes the Hall at which they performed indeed resounded the best of vibes for the prepared mind. And if "Love Letters" could have gone for 250 plus shows I will not be surprised to one fine day hear the 1000 plus record of this play. Awesome, touching, nostalgic, sentimental were perhaps some of the scribbling on the graffiti board that caused the purge of emotions! well you had it all!! Now allow me to blame myself for having missed the tete-a-tete with the actors in the cafeteria and I shall never forgive myself on that. But guess if only they could answer this query of mine....did they feel any sort of a change in their personal lives having performed this play 250 times plus of course allow me to ask why didn't Shernaz Patel ever think of the RK tattoo!

And Now talking about winners and losers, bulls and bears looks like this theatre festival has its share of kudos and brickbats and trust me if friday and saturday were the bull run days sunday was the day of the bears...and its not over with that. With all due praise and appreciation for the bold approach of Johannes von Matuschka in Electronic City by Project InDe Act, it looks like the idea of the project in action just did not sink in with more than half the audience, who showed their feedback by walking off and the remaining who just clapped through the appreciation. Well Count it didn't seem to work well here. The idea of a start without any introduction was great and the bit on the cellphone menace was well taken, trust the audience in Chennai would do well to deserve that. And it took a while for most to understand that these characters were props among the audience. While empathizing with the contemporary concept and new forays into theatre looks like somewhere you have lost the entertainment portion. The roles were played well but however there seems to be a disconnect. Actually I never knew that the role of Tom (the man in the film wandering about) was later attributed to a character on stage. Guess the transition wasn't so smooth and perhaps I still don't get the logic of not having a common face for the character Tom and how the TV shooting scenes get into the whole experiment. And coming to the violence on stage well thats another controversial issue, am certainly of the feel that violence of any form has its limits on stage. Expressing an act of frustration need not be in virulent violent scenes. Perhaps you should allow the audience to say "Stop" the next time we see such virulence on stage, now lets talk about the audience - actor interaction on stage....something to experiment about hey! That apart the lighting could have been worked around better and about the rain, that was awesome. Little did we realise it was raining outside all the same the sound of rain that we heard in the hall and I don't know, was it part of the sound recording or were we hearing it rain for real (I bet the hall has a weathering coat that is sound proof too!); Lastly a project of this nature is good but has to be abridged if you guys really want to take the message across.

And a word or two for the organisers, I bet a Sunday evening is not the right time for some experimentation. The denizens of Chennai have paid a price to watch an entertaining show and you are not doing justice to them with experiments on a Sunday evening!! And of course I sincerely wish the compere could have reminded us that there was a tete-a-tete with the Director and cast of the play, most of us left thinking that was the end, given the good night wishes! and the rain!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

'tis time for the Metroplus Theatre Fest! Aint it!!

Yet another festival and yes as I said last year the Metroplus theatre festival of The Hindu is certainly one the denizens of Chennai await. And thanks to Evam and Harsha in particular for having done the P.R. and getting me to the curtain raiser in time! and am only too glad to sport the blogger's pass, thanks Evam and The Hindu. Of course the launch party was nice, N.Ram was at his delightful best and the wine, the food, and the band et al made a great curtain raiser. And Now Folks await for the rip rip off in the days to come.....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The politicking in Cashmere (Kashmir) and the politics of Ladakh

Finally folks here goes the series of articles on Cashmere and Ladakh. Guess its late no doubt but better late than never.

What to say about Ladakh, the most useless and the most horrible place one could ever decide to reside in. Every guy who is married in the region is a fucker. And every femme who is in this region is a husband fucker, beyond that God alone knows. Politics is something one shouldn't talk about, but I don't know why the guy (chutiya saala) after me wants to write about this topic.

Now how do I escape being a chutiya saala of a comment on an article yet to be written...simple copy and paste my article above his paragraph! Or perhaps am I to maintain the comment and allow you to take the call. Guess the latter is better. And by the way if you wish to know whose comment it is that info will be added soon to this blog either with or without his consent and just as I was typing this he claims to have given consent to a certain degree, so here we go...Hemant – (Bombay) +91-932....... (keep figuring) ha ha...

Cashmere or Kashmir ever since the partition and the infamous accession of its Hindu ruler much to the angst of the Moslem majority is still a pain for the rest of India. May be you could ask is it the politics of appeasement for half a century or is it a case of shortsightedness and the genuine incapacity that plagues this paradise on earth. Apart its geographical beauty, nay remove the beauty and the monetary benefits that the beautiful lass exudes is all over, lo the controversy ends here. So is it the money or politicking in it that this beautiful paradise succumbed to is the moot question. And the answers are there before you for it needs no enlightened discussion to speak on the politics of money and the criminal politician nexus that has added woe to woe and insult to injury in the process of integrating Cashmere.

Where lies the fault? Do Cashmere's have the right to better infrastructure, education and economy just as much those in Jharkand or Tamil Nadu may demand? Or have the people of the valley lost their spirit? Or are they imbecile? Why is the policy of divide and rule still in vogue? What happens to a generation where there is none with values to imbibe from? Secessionism is the answer. For all those of you who perhaps know not lets clear this up 'Nationalism comes from the top and Secession ism arises from the bottom'. When one fails the other opens, this is just what the 20th century has taught us all in clear terms, close the open market you are indirectly patronizing the black market, close one window and another opens. This is not seen in just one part of the world, most of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and South Asia is a stark example of all that I have been discussing supra. And yet nobody cares, who cares, when the Cashmeree throws up his hands and say Inshaallah! Well according to the latest news the Eygptians do it more often! That apart as I pen this article the Govt. of Cashmere has once again collapsed courtesy the Amarnath land issue, I just dont get it. Well its an election year and the opposition has trained its guns pretty well.

For ever since if I were to look back at the numerous governments that ruled Cashmere's valley post world war 2, most of them have always been nincompoops with little or no development to their credit, alas you cant ask for more in a war torn region. Right from the days of Sheikh Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru the chaos continues. These were the men who were supposed to have resolved the identity crisis of Cashmere (lest we forget the very same men need to be attributed to have created the crisis) and till date the referendum on Cashmere's self determination is an issue that none of us can deny and a decision here will never be something that either India or Pakistan would digest come what may! But amidst all this lets not forget the plight of the Cashmeree Hindu who has for long since been forgotten since the mid 87' and into the early 90's. Sadly these Pundits of Cashmere are yet to be rehabilitated and fear to return to their own land. And the issue of Cashmere cannot be solved by the fanatic and fundamentalist zealots as as long as they willfully deny some of their own kin the right to co-exist.

If this be the politicking in Cashmere what about Ladakh? well thats another big story, ever since the Govt. of India decided to give autonomy to Ladakh, perhaps thats one way they could split Cashmere. Bad luck the Chinese anyway have the last laugh for more than a third of land is with the Chinese and they care two hoots to the rest of the world! Yes the autonomous council of Ladakh is supposed to have developed Ladakh into a beautiful tourist friendly region. But then the differences between the successive governments of Cashmere and the council in Ladakh has simply stalled everything good and nice that you and I was supposed to hear of this region. Not a day passes with there being a rift or difference of opinion being publicly stated between the govt. at Srinagar and the council in Leh. And as long these two are loggerheads the politics of Ladakh and the dreams of a million and odd go unabated.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

a bribe to blog

hey never thought the the T-shirt of the indibloggers....would cause all began when I just thought let me try this indiblogger t-shirt on sunday evening when i get to do my vegetable shopping at the local unreliable R fresh store at Chintamani, Anna Nagar. And yup I already had a quite a few looks and stares....well well I enjoyed the extra importance no doubt and then reach this mithaiwalla shop in the same locality. My sweet tooth could hold no more for the irresistible fresh sweets on display...and of course as Oscar Wilde said it...I can avoid everything but temptation...and lo ther was the Ras Malaai and I went for it....slurp slurp slurp...twas gone in me it was fresh and good...(so for those of an around Anna Nagar...Balaji's..Mithaiwalla at Chintamani is worth the Ras Malaai!....) and then just as that was eyes were on the hot jelaybees...and then came the statement from the mithaiwalla owner, a nice Maru bloke who commented on the t-shirt...hey I read the article in the newspapers of your blog group...i bet you bloggers are going great places...(oh ya right..) and ofcourse after all those blah blah blah .....hey I would not mind if you do a write up on the sweets here....and certainly you can have the plate of Jelaybee's free...thats my incentive..I wouldn't mind bribing you guys to put an article about the sweets here on your blogs.... And there I sounds nice...will consider it ...perhaps I will return another evening to your shop and try the Jelaybee's then and something more...:) and our Maru man eagerly agrees to the deal....So there I am with an invite for next Sunday to be at the same Mithaiwalla's shop for a hot plate of Jelaybee' blog!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Learning to think at problem solving

So there we go with the bloggers going ga ga over the Sudhir's excellent write up on the meet last Sunday. I bet almost everyone of us would have something to add on the meet and me ofcourse ain't an exception, so here I go and thanx to the indibloggers for spurring me to write again am out of the block folks..:) Trust me Ravin, Bala and your team it was a great event. Amidst the impressive line up of events and rains that I so much missed that Sunday evening factually one incident got me keep the thinking hat on for a while at least later that evening and what was that if you'd ask simple it all began with the frantic request of the thunderror ( and all those dear souls who helped him out with his car. Frankly what amazed me was the approach to problem solving. Almost everyone out there simply thought the best way to get a car (and oh my god this car was an obese fella, a suzuki Swift – grrr..... always felt it was a Renault design on steroids), out of the ditch nay pit nay just another sunken ground left by our chweeto read confused corporation was to lift the god damn car....ooh la la...thats tough man...cant we have some lateral thinking and thats what the situation demanded. So one look at the situation and a brain wave.... fill the sunken ground and get her out. And thats just what we did, stones were brought to give a fillip to the sunken ground below and lo in a couple of moments the obese lady was rolled out in reverse. So thats the moral of the day, the need of the hour is lateral thinking, if only we could address the issue in thoughtful manner with a little difference cant we solve most issues that plague us. Perhaps as one of successful American millionaire business women of the 20th century put it there's nothing better like a thing called a “common sense” approach!

P.S. And hey by the way folks my earlier posting on Halwa bites the dust....its halwa to one and all the shop has closed down...sob more alwa's!!