Afsana: A sensitive comedy that entertains

The play, which was staged at Ranga Shankara recently, captures the emotions of two writers in a comical way

Published: 10th April 2012 11:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 10:28 PM   |  A+A-

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BANGALORE: Here was a play for comedy lovers named Afsana, which means a ‘short story’ in Urdu literature. The play which was staged in Ranga Shankara recently was directed by Abhijit Sengupta and the playwright was Anuvab Pal.

The story, which had a simple plot about two writers and a publisher not only entertained the audience but also brought some serious issues such as racism and sensationalism in contemporary writing to the fore.

The play captured the emotions of the two writers, where one is knowledgeable while the other claims to be one. Each scene is woven well, keeping the audience engaged in guessing what would happen next. The story revolves around two failed writer friends, James bond and Mohsin Ali, who is known as Mo in the rest of the play.

Mohsin writes innumerable drafts of novels on Afsana, his wife who dies after meeting with an accident twenty years ago. Unknown to Mo, his wife was runover

by James.  

After many years of cringing and writing many drafts, James’ book is accepted for publication; meanwhile Mo’s draft is rejected.

But James miserably fails to sell books and receives awful reviews from various publications for his

‘piece of literature’.

The play also touches upon racism with Mo, a British citizen from South India, being claimed to be a terrorist, not only because he is ‘mid-Eastern looking’ but also because of his name.

The playwright has tried to emphasise on the racial discrimination throughout the play with blend of humour.

The playwright has added the element of humour and satire reminding the audience about the value that knowledge holds in present day context and also

the condition of a writer.

The playwright has utilised the stage to discuss many sensitive issues like racism and prejudice

attached to it.

With matured performances by Anish Victor as Mohsin Ali and Ashish D’Abreo as James Bond, the play captured the audience attention and had a smooth flow without any haphazard work by the director and the playwright.

Though Ankush Dadu, as a publisher had a cameo role to play, he did complete justice to his role as a young and demanding publisher who looks more for sensationalism in literary works that

he publishes.

The crew took away the credit for putting up a simple yet effective set which took audience to the exact circumstances that the characters in the play were undergoing. Try to catch the play if it is staged in Bangalore again.

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