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Comedy play sans humour

Archana Mishra, Nov 22, 2012, DHNS :

Theatrical experience

Rebirth: Dead king comes alive in a scene from the play Khel Khiladi Khel.

There have been many plays showcasing the split within oneself when it comes to power and limitless materialistic pleasure. Making an effort to bring this on stage, Shri Ram Centre Repertory Company’s presented a satirical comedy Khel Khiladi Khel.

Based on the short story Bagiya Banchcha Ram Ki written by well-known Bengali writer Manoj Mitra, the play, however, failed to present the powerful satire efficiently.

The comment, as presented in the original story on society and human nature, was diluted by adding unnecessary moments which made the overall play weak.

It opened with an argument between poor Brahmin (Lambodar) and coppersmith (Abhiram) over visiting the royal capital to get some charity from the king suffering from an illness.

Lambodar forces Abhiram to carry him on his shoulder but he refuses as finds it inappropriate to go all the way to the capital for few pennies. However, considering Lamboodar as a father figure, he decides to go ahead. While on their way, what comes as a surprise is the death of the king and preparations are on to give him a royal cremation. 

To end the disappointment of the duo, God Shani (played by Sunil Messy) enters the stage. He gives an opportunity to Lambodar (played by Mazibur Rahman) and Abhiram (played by Atul Jassi) that whosoever between the duo accepts to die, his soul will be transferred in the body of the dead king.

But Shani at the same time says that the soul can get back to the original body anytime. Suddenly a confusion arises when both of them begin to fight to die and get money from the king’s treasure.

It was Lambodar’s soul that enters the king’s body. People in the palace are terror –stricken and surprised to see dead king alive. Lambodar gets to see the luxury which he has never seen before. He begins to enjoy the wealth. However,  his secret is revealed and the others who did conspiracy to kill the king are now after his life.

Meanwhile, Abhiram is worried about the protection of Lambodar’s body. He asks Lambodar to get back to his body but he refuses and wants to get Abhiram killed.  As the story progresses, Lambodar soul get backs to his original body and he realises that money and power turned him blind.

Sameep Singh, chief of SRC repertory company and the director of the play tried to create unnecessary funny moments. He made God Shani dance on present day Bollywood tracks. However, the actors justified their roles and played their part brilliantly but the weak production could not bind the audience to the play.


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