12 September 2013

ILHAAM - A Play

As a child the protagonist of the play, Bhagwaan used to sit with his father during his prayers. His father sang in praises of Lord Shiva "Oh Shankar mere, kab honge Darshan tere?" (Oh Lord Shiva, when will you show yourself to me?) The child got perplexed and asked his father "Baba, what will you do, if Shankar ji appears to you?"
This is the base of this play – the simplicity and the power lies in one simple question "Does the world come to you and says, See I am!"
The beauty of any play lies in its theme and its moments. The theme is of a simple man who recognizes enlightenment –  something that sat in the corners of his mind and he allows it one day to rule whole of his mind. The enlightenment or call it the TRUTH or SATISFACTION or HEAVEN or whatever  – the most coveted thing in this world, the ultimate purpose of all our lives, but also the most misunderstood, misinterpreted and misused terminology. The way one's trash is another man's treasure – the same way one's heaven is another person's hell, and one's enlightenment is another person's madness.
In our lives we constantly lead a dual life where reality and dreams are fighting out for space. One is most happy when its' dreams become a reality, but the irony is it can't happen, unless one is ready to leave the reality. We hold on to it – the so called 'Moh Maya' the materialistic world, the emotional attachment and it pulls us away from the ENLIGHTENMENT. This dual that we fight to crossover or stay is the theme of the play. The duality of heart and mind, body and soul, happiness and satisfaction, attachment and detachment, said and the unsaid, heard and unheard, order and chaos, inside and out, yin and yang.
There were two very powerful moments in the play, first the opening scene of a man sitting in a park doing different activities, sitting and smiling with satisfaction, playing hide and seek, sleeping, and dancing with hands reaching out the sky. The dancing was most poignant, slow with sudden jerks of feet and outstretched hands on the sound of flute. I could feel the soul of the protagonist trying to get free from the body and reaching for the sky, the wetness of the eyes on body's inability to set it free and the sudden jerks and movements showing the internal struggle.
The second moment was the words of friends and family, sounding like a different language. It felt when one is underwater and the sounds and words on the surface are muffles and mumbling. Like you are in a different world and the words come out of a vacuum.
As the protagonist turns alien to the world and starts living with figments of his imagination, conversing with a chirping bird, a dumb waiter, or his childhood comic characters. They were all the medium to show the state of his mind struggling with the duality. The struggle to get free but refusal to let go.
Here I must commend brilliant work by seasoned actor Kumud Mishra and successful depiction of a strong subject by the writer Manav Kaul. The play leaves you with some food for thought and you are bound to spend hours of intellectual debates, discussions and experience sharing on this subject. There will be interesting conversations and healthy introspections, but it will lead you nowhere. Millions of intellectuals, philosophers, psychologists, thought leaders and Gurus have come and gone in search and definition of THE TRUTH, but they have only created more confusion and chaos, creating newer ways and mediums of attaining it. But the ones who receive enlightenment, cannot explain it or share it. And one man's enlightenment could be another man's madness.  
As for me I am a little more enlightened than yesterday and my search still continuesI believe!
Imagination and Reality are considered Opposites, but Imagination is only a prequel to Reality.
You can catch this play at Prithvi Theate, Mumbai

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