Saketnath ( Pandey), Roshni ( Shah), Mohit (Mourya)
Wiritten and Directed by Makarand Deshpande
I managed to see a play after a long time, thanks to the gang as always. Sa hi besura is a brilliant attempt at portraying an artist ‘s inner feelings coupled with an anguished fathers attempts to bring his daughter back into reality.
Act 1 starts off with Saketnath warning that the play has become a part of his life and the twists and turns of the play unfortunately portray the deep anguish that he feels. He is the quintessential old guard theatre actor who believes that the role of each actor on stage is to find his ‘sa’ among the navrasas. He believes that Sa is supreme, the beginning and end of the octave and finding his/her own sa is the true purpose of artist on stage.
Saketnath had a blackout on stage and is being nursed by his daughter through arranged rehearsals. A small time thief Prakash (as good a character as ever written, the comedian , the recent trend among movies/plays almost as if we cant take too much of seriousness) who had earned his bread through selling Sa hi Besura tickets in black helps in boosting the veteran actor s ego. But it is not so easy, Saketnath does not remember what he has done, drinks copiously and thinks the modern generation should spend time finding their Sa.
Roshni, Saketnath’s daughter carries the knowledge that her father wanted the son that had died during her childbirth and remains tormented by that fact, and she believes Sa Hi Besura’s character of a son is why Saket likes the play. Along comes Mohit, the artist who is supposed to play Saket s son in the play. Mohit is a brash young actor who has coached himself in the mannerisms of famous actors. He is earnest and sincere but according to Saket his talents are hidden by his desire to mimic and his impressions of acting. Saket tries to kindle the yearning for Sa in Roshni and Mohit. (Maurya as Mohit is simply exceptional, I cant believe that I laughed so much, movies plays or otherwise).
All through the exchange, there is a constant reference to Saket s wife Suchitra, both as a reference to Roshni s behavior and the (lack of) understanding/conflict between two artists. The end is to put it mildly, simply unexpected. No spoilers here.
The brilliant part of the play is really the openness of it all, the play speaks to the audience, and there is a self referencing loop and there is enough weight for the audience to think about each of the aspects being spoken about. Art, artist, son/daughter, conflict, stability the play is as multi layered as you choose it to be.
Prithvi Theatre in itself is quite a small place and the voice carries over well. Maybe sometimes a bit too loud and maybe a bit shorter, would have made it perfect. But I am not complaining anyway.