Monday, January 19, 2015

Aree O Henry - Gulzar Theater Fiesta at DUCTAC


The above quote was indeed the central concept of the literary master pieces woven out by the wizard of fiction Sir O Henry. Each of his stories took us down unexpected adventures of life which he presented with ample dose of humor and wit. Sir Henry’s stories are very relevant even in the contemporary times.  I was lucky to witness not just the enactment of his play but also its modern interpretation by none other than the power house of talent Gulzar Saheb.  


 A three day event celebrating Theater and literature, called the “Gulzar Theatre Fiesta”  unveiled at Ductac Dubai. Commemorating American literary genius O Henry, India’s very own living legend and lyrical maestro Gulzar Saheb, scripted a beautiful ensemble of 4 plays adapted from O Henry’s lesser known plays. The plays came to life and assumed a extremely enjoyable dimension under the directorial guidance of Mumbai based director  Salim Arif. Seasoned actors like Bakul Kakkar, Vrajesh Hirjee, Lubna Salim and Nissar Khan captivated the audience with their impeccable timing and impeccable acting. The set of 4 plays had been Indianized and titled as Nuksha (The Love Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein ) Shaadi Kara Lo (The Exact Science of Matrimony), Madam (While The Auto Waits) & Bal Bal Bache (The Barber Talks).The play started at 4.00 PM followed by RUBARU (face - to - face) with Gulzar at 8.00 PM.


The play opened with Nuksha, a story about young love (between a retired military officers daughter & an actor), competition between two suitors and the ultimately destiny that favors the triumphant lover duo. This was followed by Shaadi Kar Lo where two friends open a marriage bureau to make some easy bucks. Each applicant is promised a wealthy & handsome match with a young widow (Neetu Pandey) for some amount of money. As predicted the ending is comical and unpredictable. The third play titled Madam with Lubna Salim as a wealthy lady’s handmaid impersonating her mistress was the most entertaining, impactful and enthralling act for me. Lubna Salim enthused, Gulzar Sahebs characterization of the maid impersonating her mistress, with electrifying and lively energy. Last but not the least the story Bal Bal Bache with Jamaal Khan as the tricky Barber was the icing on the cake.



Gulzar Saheb’s simple, comic and yet effective script, was performed expertly by the artist. What added miles to my smile was that Gulzar Saheb was present to witness the unfolding of the entire play and graced the occasion by coming up on stage to join the entire crew in the end. As Gulzar Sahed descended from the box to come down to the stage there was a slight delay. An apologetic Salim Arif said “intejar ka phal mitha hota hai.” (The fruits of patience is always sweet). As everyone in the audience awaited with bated breath to catch a glimpse of the living legend, some in the audience screamed out “We can wait an eternity for him.” Right then a humble Gulzar Sahed came onstage in his customary white attire and the audience stood up to give a standing ovation.

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