The indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) has always been a forefront runner in promoting plays of social relevance. Having carved a niche for itself in this arena, IPTA has already staged scores of plays of repute, which has ended up reflecting social problems in its entirety. Of late they are active in staging the most popular plays like “Taj Mahal Ka Tender”, directed by Salim Aarif with cast comprising of well-known actors like Rakesh Bedi, Bharat Kapoor & Jaspaul Sandhu, “Café Shimla” written-directed-acted by Rakesh Bedi, “Girija Ke Sapne” directed by M. S. Sathyu & above all “Darindey…….The Villains” directed by Ramesh Talwar starring Aanjjan Srivastav, Rakesh Bedi, Rashmi Sharma, Nivedita Baunthiyal, Manju Sharma, Vinati Makijany, Vikas Yadav, Hriday Malhotra & Nishant Srivastav. These plays are running successfully in Mumbai and varied part of India. The play being reviewed here is “Darindey…….The Villians” adapted from the original play named “The Little Foxes”, which was staged recently @ Prithvi Theartre on 14th Feb, 2015.
Cast: Aanjjan Srivastav, Rakesh Bedi, Jaspaul Sandhu, Rashmi Sharma, Nivedita Baunthiyal, Manju Sharma, Vinati Makijany, Vikas Yadav, Hriday Malhotra & Nishant Srivastav.
Original Playwright: Lillian Hellman (The Little Foxes)
Adaptation & Direction: Ramesh Talwar
Sets-Costumes-Lights: M. S. Sathyu Music Selection & Coordination: Kuldip Singh
Associate Director & Production Incharge: Vikas Yadav
The play’s main focus is Regina (Rashmi Sharma), who struggles for wealth & freedom within the confines of an early 20th Century society where fathers considered only sons as their legal heirs. As a result of this practice, her avaricious brothers Benjamin (Aanjjan Srivastav) & Oscar (Rakesh Bedi) are independently wealthy, while she must rely upon her sickly, wheelchair-using husband Horace (Hriday Malhotra) for financial support.
Regina’s brother Oscar marries Birdie (Nivedita Baunthiyal), his much-maligned alcoholic wife, solely to acquire her family’s plantation & cotton fields. Oscar now wants to join forces with his brother, Benjamin, to construct a cotton mill. They need additional money and approach their sister, asking her to invest in the project. Oscar initially proposes marriage between his son Leo (Nishant Srivastav) & Regina’s daughter Alexandra (Vinati Makijany), first cousins as a means of getting Horace’s money, but Horace & Alexandra are revolted by the suggestion. Horace refuses when Regina asks him outright for the money, so Leo, a bank teller, is pressured into stealing Horace’s railroad bonds from the bank’s safety deposit box. Horace, after discovering this, tells Regina he is going to change his will in favor of their daughter, he also gave Leo the bonds as a loan, thereby cutting Regina out of the deal completely. When he suffers a heart attack during this chat, she makes no efforts to help him. He dies within hours, without anyone knowing his plan and before changing his will. This leaves Regina free to blackmail her brothers by threatening to report Leo’s theft unless they give her bigger share for ownership in the cotton mill, which in Regina’s mind, is a fair exchange for the stolen bonds. The price Regina ultimately pays for her evil deeds is the loss of her daughter Alexandra’s love & respect. Regina’s actions causes Alexandra to finally understand the importance of not idly watching people do evil. She tells Regina she will not watch her be “one who eats the earth” and abandons her. Having let her husband die, alienated her brothers and driven away by her only child, Regina is left wealthy but completely alone.
The Critical Analysis
The play which had been penned in the year 1939 fits accurately even in today’s time and the present day society too. This hard hitting play is really very heart touching as it relates to every family in our society. it is really a great production staged by IPTA. Ramesh Talwar’s adaptation & direction is picture perfect and ends up doing the most appropriate justice to the original playwright Lillian Hellman. Even the sets, the costumes & the lighting done by M. S. Sathyu is remarkable. Kuldeep Sings music too leaves a lasting impression.
Performances wise all the actors were really stunning in their respective roles, having delivered a power packed act. Anjan Srivastav looks smart & elegant. Rakesh Bedi with his timing & comic sense gives a befitting tribute to his character. Rashmi Sharma lends glamor with her charming persona. Next in line are actors like Jaspaul Sandhu, Nivedita Baunthiyal, Manju Sharma, Vinati Makijany, Vikas Yadav, Hriday Malhotra & Nishant Srivastav all of whom have ended up delivering an unforgettably par excellence perfornance.
The Final Verdict
All in all “Darindey…….The Villains” certainly stands out as a “Not To Be Missed Play” at any cost.