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Just for people like us!

ROMESH CHANDER

Feisal Alkazi's "People Like Us" mounted this past week raises many questions concerning the present generation, particularly women.



SOCIAL ISSUES: A scene from "People Like Us".

After more than a year Ruchika, one of Delhi's leading theatre groups has come up with a new play, "People like us", written, directed and designed by Feisal Alkazi, a brilliant theatre director of the younger generation.

The programme brochure tells us "the play is a composite script largely based on two totally different works, `Brilliant Lies' from Australia and the `Land of Little Horses' by an American author".

One doesn't know why the names of the two playwrights are not mentioned.

Since this critic is not familiar with the original plays, it is difficult to say how much of the play is an adaptation or is it just borrowing from the basic plot.

Ruchika has set the play around the Page 3 tribe and its readers in a metropolitan city like Delhi or Mumbai with the only difference that Feisal's characters, by and large belong to a section of society this is on the move, a society in the process of change.

The play touches upon many subjects like for instance, how men respond to the new woman conscious of her rights.

Many questions

The play takes up many questions that the new generation, particularly the women, have to face both at home and their place of work.

Then there are the scars of child abuse by uncles, family friends and even fathers. Are these memories of childhood tucked away and forgotten or do they spread their tentacles in adult life of the victims? Then of course there is the real or alleged exploitation of women by their seniors in the corporate and business offices. All this and much more is covered in the play.

The production had immense potential but as its stands, one feels it needs a second look by the writer-director. Some of the scenes are a little too long.

For instance, the opening scene itself. And as we go along there are also some other scenes that are long but well crafted to hold our interest.

For example some sequences in Simran's conciliation sessions with Krishnan who has complained against her boss Gaurva for sexual harassment who thinks "he is God's gift to women".

Changing concepts

The play underlines the changing concepts of human relationships among the young generation with a view to create a better understanding between the young and the old. In the process Feisal explores the lives of 11 characters living in Delhi.

The play looks into serious social and personal problems of a certain section of society in a metropolis.

True, they are not the vast majority but they are you and me from the fast growing generation of upper-middle class.

The cast features old and the new. Among the seniors are Mona Chawla who is as good as ever playing the mother and then Radhika Alkazi in a demanding role of the older sister Kusum is excellent.

She is in full command both as a supporter and mentor of her younger sister Krishna depending up on the situation. This is one of her best performances that will be long remembered.

Then there is Smita Mazumdar playing Krishna as per demands of the role a different items and situations. She plays with immense confidence even when telling a blatant lie.

With time on her side she will go far. The rest of the cast have the potential but need more rehearsals and learn to relax.

The script too at places needs a little more editing and so does the language.

For instance even the Yuppies in India do not lace their surprise with "Jesus".

The frequent use of the expression by different characters does not fit in to the Indian milieu.

"People like us" must not only be kept alive but must also be discussed by theatre goers and also the young of the new generation for it raises many issues that are usually swept under the carpet.

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