From the Nukkads of Mumbai Come Two Stories of Love, Relationships
BANGALORE: Rangbaaz, a Mumbai-based theatre group, is bringing a story that we all grew up with to namma city. Coming to town after two years, the play Jungle Book has tried to stay faithful to Kipling's book, says director Shivani Thanksale.
"Of course, as part of our research, we went through comic strips, the Disney movies and even watched the cartoon series again," says Shivani. The TV actor was first introduced to the story through the animated series on Doordarshan and read the book more recently.
"That's when I realised how many smaller stories in the Jungle Book I didn't even know about," she says. While not many of these have found space in the present production — it's hard to pack them all into a two-hour show — they've triggered ideas for future plays.
She shares that she had to tweak the end a little. "The idea of what's appropriate for children has changed. For example, the book ends with a fight between Mouwgli and Shere Khan, where the human kills the tiger. That's violence, and with anti-poaching laws in place now, I didn't think I could portray it that way," says Shivani.
The production uses puppets, masks and three different languages — Hindi, English and Marathi. "Perhaps it came out this way because, very often, this generation doesn't use a single language to communicate. Even in Bollywood, whose base is the Hindi language, there's hardly a dialogue with no English mixed in it," she adds.
But, based on the responses after 45 successful shows, she asserts that language doesn't become a barrier, probably because it's a plot that everyone's familiar with. "And children are so much smarter than we believe; they usually get all the nuances," she adds.
Following two days of Jungle Book, the troupe will stage Bade Miyaan Deewane, adapted from Urdu writer Janab Shaukat Thanvi's novel Budhbhas, a comedy with father-son duo embroiled in a love triangle.
Eighty-year-old Meer Sahab falls in love with his neighbour Sheikh Sahab's daughter Suraiya. When Meer's son Tabish, who has lived away from home returns, he finds that his father intends to marry his girlfriend, Suraiya. However, the girl's father wants her to marry the young writer Shaukat. So Tabish plots to run away with his 16-year-old love interest.
"When I read the novel, I was surprised how funny it was. The writing style is refreshing, the theme universal and the writer Indian. And I wanted people to know that we too have had such writers," says Imraan Rasheed, director, who hopes that his audiences will share his experience after the 105-minute show.
(Jungle Book (for 3 years and above) and Bade Miyaan Deewane at Ranga Shankara on June 5,6 and June 7,8)