Tuesday, June 21, 2016

PLAY REVIEW: White Lily & Night Rider

The Hinglish version of the still-running Marathi hit play White Lily & Night Rider connects with you on many levels. Sapna Sarfare reviews the play for those interested.

I admit that despite hearing rave reviews of the Marathi version of White Lily & Night Rider, I had yet to see it. I then grabbed the first chance to watch the launch of the Hinglish edition to the existing Marathi version which speaks about online identities clashing with real life and the changing nature of relations in the tech world.

39-year-old Puneri share broker Keshav Sane (Milind Phatak) goes by the name Night Rider on a dating site. This quintessential insecure Indian male has a rather easy-going nature. Online, this rider’s outspoken nature attracts attention, but is a tame cat in real life. In contrast, bold Mumbaikar White Lily aka Bhakti Deshmukh (Sonali Kulkarni) is honest, quick on assumptions and carries baggage of her own. Chatting online for some time, their conversations are liberal with talks of sexual nature. When they decide to meet, a series of conflicts dealing with compatibility on every level comes out. Each see situations from their own hilarious perspective and the result is something they don’t expect.

It is a script which is the focal point for White Lily & Night Rider’s success. The story is a believable take on how evolving technology brings in its own sets of problems for people. Keshav & Bhakti are today’s people – slightly beyond the typical marriage age but gung-ho on finding someone special. That means using technology for their benefit. But their actual meetings & compatibility leaves both awkward. Bhakti’s insecurities and honest nature leaves her panicking when things ‘seem’ slightly odd. Keshav, alternatively, comes across as someone who prefers escapism to face off. When the two natures collide, everything takes a different turn. There is a connecting point in this story.

The point that stuck more was the characterization. Keshav comes across as more believable than Bhakti. Non-confronting, Keshav’s past 2 affairs makes him wary of dealing with women’s emotions and understanding. Bhakti, on the other hand, has had one failed affair and more experience dealing with men’s unwanted attention. Yet, the connection between her past issues and present behavior comes across as rather incomplete. Her past, in some ways, does not justify her rather brash and ‘I am right’ behavior with Keshav. The second half of the play struggles a bit when the characters start to argue and it seems stretched.

Fortunately, the story still works on many levels, thanks to the humour and language. You feel as the conversations come from your life itself. Written by Milind Phatak and the late Rasika Joshi (the original Bhakti), it speaks the language & emotions of today. The humour is the play’s highlight along with good acting. Milind Phatak is very much Keshav Sane – sure of himself yet confused of whether he has really understood Bhakti. You connect with his Keshav Sane. Sonali Kulkarni is an actor par excellence. Her Bhakti is almost easily identifiable, yet, at times, comes across too aggressive for no reason. It is a big credit to Sonali that she does not cross the line though.
The mark of a good play would also be behind the scenes work. Pradeep Mulye’s set design represents the situations well – whether it is coffee house or Keshav’s home. It was quite funny to see the ‘walls’ shake when Bhakti tries to leave the house in anger. The lighting department supports the art department well.

What I loved about White Lily & Night Rider is that the play does not offer a solution but rather makes you think. Finding love at whatever age is not as easy you think. But technology cannot replace personal connectivity and one needs to think about that more. White Lily & Night Rider provides fodder for that thought. I might go for a second watch.

CAST: Sonali Kulkarni & Milind Pathak
SCRIPT & DIRECTION: Late Rasika Joshi & Milind Pathak
GENRE: Comedy
DURATION: 130 Mins 


Milind Phatak said...

What an lovely analysis of play. Thanks a lot sapna

Born to Dream said...

Thanks a ton... It was a lovely experience watching this wonderful play...