Friday, September 4, 2015

Play Review: One on One 2

Watching Rage Production’s One on One 2 is like watching 9 different lives & realistic moments squeezed in one play. The play is a winner. 

Neil Bhoopalam
I went with misgivings and came out with a smile & potfull of memories. Spending an evening watching 9 monologues was not something I counted for. But I was so wrong. Rage Productions came up with One on One 2, after the first part. The format is simple – different realistic situations narrated via monologues. I was much relived to see some good writing and acting. You see actors Rajit Kapur, Sumeet Vyas, Anu Menon, Vrajesh Hirjee, Hussain Dalal, Neil Bhoopalam, Shikha Talsania, Gopal Datt and Zafar Karachiwala play characters, while Rajit Kapur, Rahul DaCunha, Nadir Khan, Sumeet Vyas, Ashish Jagtiani, Akarsh Khurana, Ayesha Menon, Faezeh Jalali and Hussain Dalal. 

The plots are simple but leave a mark. Anu Menon gives a small peek into the life of a mother
Anu Menon
stressing with her children and domestic life.  Vrajesh Hirjee is a NRI Gujju from USA explaining his unusual bride finding journey in the plane. Rajit Kapur attends his physiotherapist’s funeral that has died in the Nepal avalanche and the arduous journey to get his body amidst red-tapism. Zafar Karachiwala plays a Sindhi real estate agent hit on hard times, but still raring to go. Gopal Datt as TC speaks about being a newbie TC in Indian Railways. Hussain Dalal & Sumeet Vyas are two soldiers on the Kashmir border speaking of the fruitlessness of war. Meet Neil Bhoopalam aka DJ Elvis who is attempting to make a name for himself, while Shikha Talsania is a bride who gets jitters on her marriage day. The finale has first-time producer Sumeet Vyas speak about the world of Bollywood.

It takes daring to create a real world on stage in pieces and let us see this world with a touch of poignancy and lot of humour. Full marks go to the writers who make you smile, smirk, tickle, silent and think at the same time. The language is mostly English with Gopal Datt’s piece in Hindi. The humour is both urbane, Indian and real. When the bride starts panicking, you are both laughing at the humorous chatter and connect with her. The directors make sure the writer’s world reaches you. The light & set design allows the free flow of the actors to portray the characters and tell the story.

Rajit Kapoor
The best part of One on One 2 has to be the actors. It is indeed tough to converse with the audience and act naturally as if you are the character. When Anu Menon runs around trying to handle things, you feel she is that mother. Rajit Kapur becomes the mourner who sees the pain. While Zafar Karachiwala falters a bit to create humour, the serious side does come out well. Vrajesh Hirjee & Gopal Datt are the winners when they play the young Gujju from US of A; TC respectively. Hussain Dalal & Sumeet Vyas as the soldiers caught in conflict are serenely superb; so is Shikha Talsania as a commitment phobic bride. In fact, she is another scene-stealer with her superb command over humour & character. Neil Bhoopalam is quite decent, but feel he is let down by mediocre writing. Sumeet Vyas brings out the producer’s crazy life with aplomb.

It is a pity that English or semi-Hinglish plays like these seem to be elitist. The concept, story, characters here are very much Indian and real. Rage Production’s One on One 2 is a must watch, if you want to laugh, smile, think about the situations around us. Try seeing it just once. Regret is not the word you will attach to this play after watching it. 

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