Those were the days...

Those were the days...

good effort From The Blue Mug.

A mix of English and Hinglish, it takes one on a time trip to the North of India — filled with blazing hot summers, holidays with eccentric grandparents and typical childhood games.
The action was largely structured in the form of vignettes from the past, covering early years, moving into love and adolescence and the taking of hard decisions that come with adulthood — like divorce.

 Largely characterised by improvisation, monologues, cameos and tragic-comic sequences in no particular order, all the actors with the exception of Konkona Sen and Ranvir Shorey, play themselves. The stage setting was simple and apart from large, hanging blackboards  there was not much else.

Konkana in the role of a doctor and Ranvir in the role of her patient, a middle-class Punjabi named Joginder Singh Chauhan who suffers from memory loss, are the two fictional characters in the play.

With the thrust of the whole drama obviously focusing on the importance of memories and the fact that they can either enrich or mar a life — the patient with no memory takes on an added significance within the context.

As for the rest of the cast, they provide one with glimpses into living and growing up in parts of North India — from different perspectives and from different strata of society.
There are celebrations of the seasons, going to the circus with older relatives (not always the fun, positive experience one would expect), roasting and eating maize all day and going off to boarding school.

The audience is also meant to identify with the fondness one develops for a familiar mug however old or chipped it becomes, pranks played at school and special childhood games,.

Adding a bit of poignancy and angst to the sweet innocence of childhood, was the mention of the Emergency and the ugliness of communal riots.

At the end of the day, The Blue Mug was all about memories, both distant and recent past — the finale coming together as a piece of experimental theatre that could have worked better.

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