YATHARTH proved to be a haunting and poignant look into the power struggles and dynamics that come into play within a patriarchal family.
Conceived, written and directed by Anupam Ramesh Kinger, the 80-minute drama debuted to a spellbound audience.
The play, set during the 1950s in a small rural town ruled over by an oppressive patriarch, told the story of Yatharth, the illegitimate first child of the powerful man and his mother Sugandha, who happened to be the house servant.
The story of how Sugandha came to live at the property and what followed formed the crux of the story, interestingly showing how even the oppressed can become the oppressors given the right circumstances, and what a person is capable of when pushed to the limit.
The standout performances came from Deepshikha Banerjee who played Sugandha and Anagha Paki who played Rani Sahiba. These two actors stole the show, both in terms of their dialogue delivery and their sheer stage presence which enraptured the audience.
Anagha Paki delivered a powerful and thought-provoking monologue and Deepshikha Banerjee, as the main character, hit the role out of the park.
Saptarshi Bhowmick who played Yatharth also shone as the defiant, yet confused, son with a deft hand, never once going overboard.
Kartikeya Mehta, on the other hand, was larger than life, as his character demanded. He played to the audience, drawing us in and making us fully invested in the tale.
There were a few drawbacks, however. The first was that the entire play was in Hindi, limiting its appeal to local, as well as European theatre devotees. The second thing was the sound.
The play was accompanied by a live soundtrack, with a musician and singer sitting right next to the stage performing while the play was going on. The live music really added to the overall ambience of the play, enhancing the scenes wherever it was needed. The issue was with the microphones that the cast wore, it often picked up stray whispers from backstage or created feedback that could be quite deafening. This, of course, was a technical issue but worth noting and addressing in the future.
In conclusion, watching Yatharth was a surreal experience. The twists and turns that the story takes, the revelations that take place and the performances by the entire cast made for an enjoyable and thought-provoking night at the theatre.
The play was also accompanied by an art exhibition inspired by the story of Yatharth. Although the audience members were treated to the art before the drama even started, context after watching the play provided a much deeper understanding of the pieces.
The pieces were made especially for the play, with artists being told the storyline ahead of time so that the audience could experience and understand the play through a different medium.
Clever and much appreciated.
– Deviprasad Nair