CHENNAI: Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha (I didn’t mean it like that), which was staged at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall on Friday, included all emotional elements from sorrow to happiness, fear, humour and anger.
People have their own perspectives and that creates misunderstandings — this explained the title Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha. There are many who frequently use the line to escape from a truth they blurt out. Director Rakesh Bedi portrayed just that in the play.
The play Anupam Kher as Pritam Kumar Chopra, Nina Gupta playing the roles of Hema Roy and Pritam’s wife Nigar, and Rakesh, who donned the role of a curious neighbour.
The play opened at the beautifully-set up Lodhi Gardens, where Hema was seen waiting at the park bench for her high school sweetheart whom she was meeting after 35 years. Hema and Pritam got talking about old times which they spent together, their respective married lives and so on. While the conversations suggested a gap between the lost lovers, towards the end, it was filled with heart-to-heart talks and a hug to top it all. Also, by the end of the play, Anupam Kher decided to follow Nina to London.
The play threw light on the misunderstandings which crop up because of each individual’s perspective, besides the significance of first love and that first crush, and the fact that fear of society brought no good.
Anupam Kher’s flawless presentation was commendable. He made the audience go wild during a scene where he re-enacted a childhood episode with his friends for Hema. He enacted how he spied on a couple in the bedroom and gave a running commentary to his friends. His more serious scenes, where he wept, moved everyone.
Nina surprised the audience with her spectacular performance. Though this was her comeback after nearly a decade, she managed to make the audience hold their breath. In a particular scene, where she broke down to describe how she murdered her husband, her performance left the crowd in awe. Her character transition, from sophisticated Hema to a more rural-borne Nigar was flawless with the perfect stance and accent. Rakesh Bedi used pre-recorded scenes for the flashback that was accompanied with dramatic music and well-timed phone conversations.
Every play has epic dialogues that remain etched in the minds of the audience. Mera Woh Matlab nahi Tha, apart from the title itself, had a few memorable words. One was a comic phrase ‘Shanty-flat’ used by Nigar to describe her crazy emotions and the other, a more serious and deep ‘Chalo aaj ki baat karte hain. Atit ke panne itne peele pad chuke hai ki unhe baar baar paltoge toh phat sakte hai.’ (Let’s talk about today. The pages of the past have yellowed so much, that if we keep turning the pages, they may tear).
All in all, the play was an emotional roller coaster that brought laughter, tears, and thought-provoking concepts. And the spectacular actors did make the audience Shanty Flat!