Can a nightlong conversation help humanity?

Award-winning playwright Mahesh Dattani’s Final Solutions adapted by Arvind Gaur has powerful explanations given for communalism in our country. The play which was staged at the Amphitheatre at the India Habitat Centre over the weekend went full house on both the days.

The very origin of the contentious debate and stereotypes, attached to religion and its acceptance by Hindus and Muslims prevalent today were
sensibly discussed in the household drama.

Dialogues were long monologues (introspections of the characters) one after the other, were much like how Dattani framed them. Each actor came upfront to weigh their plight for belonging either from the majority or  the minority community. The sentimentality of the characters is in what he/she says on stage. Javed (Susan Brar) was the main attraction.

Javed left school as a child and joined a group of rioters as he fought for his religious identity, “musalmano ko juloos nikalna padta hai sirf ye jatane ke liye ki hum bhi iss desh ka hissa hain” was one dialogue that sent chills down the spine of all the viewers. Javed’s character was the most typical and also the saddest.

The play starts from a hypothetical situation of a curfew in Gujarat and examines the attitudes of the three generations of a middle class Gujarati family.

Hardika, who survived the Partition, is obsessed with her father’s death and betrayal of Muslim friend, Zarin. Her son, Ramnik Gandhi, wants to forgive himself for collecting all the fortunes out of a shop of Zarine’s father, which was burnt down by his kinsmen.

Hardika’s daughter-in-law, Aruna, lives as a sanskari Hindu, proud of her mythology and religion but at the same time fears that someone will corrupt it one day, Smita, her daughter is much suffocated with all the Hindu puja path day in and day out and comes back to her mother as she couldn’t allow herself a relationship with a Muslim boy.

These hidden feelings among the characters were exposed when two Muslim boys, Babban and Javed, came in search of a shelter in their house on being chased by a baying Hindu mob during the curfew.

Babban is a modest guy, while Javed, an aggressive and hurt youth. The play depicted a night in their lives when each character disclosed their deepest emotions and ideas of how they perceive each other’s existence in the same society. The clashes of ego and judgements become cruder towards the end of the play. The play does not offer any solution to communalism and is neither preachy, but tolerance and forgetfulness emerge as the only possible solution of the crisis.

The sets and properties used in the play are simple which accentuates the internal conflicts of the characters and the subtext of the play.

The crowd in the background sing sometimes for the Hindus and sometimes
for the Muslims and is symbolic of our own hatred and paranoia.

Gaur says, “Final Solutions touches us, and the bitter realities of our lives so closely that it becomes a difficult play to handle. The past begins to determine the outlook of the present and thus the earlier contradictions re-emerge.”

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