Kabutar Ja Ja, written by Siddhesh Purkar, was hosted at Gyaan Adab in association with Natak Company.
Natak Company is a contemporary non-profit making theatre group based in Pune. The group has been encouraging artists to bring in different perspectives of creation, presentation and dissemination of new theatre practices while critically responding to the socio-political and economic changes of the time.
The premise of the play is the sheltered life led by Suman Sharma, house-wife and mother to young son of 8. Sick of the monotonous life she leads, she turns to Crime Patrol to relieve her boredom, having already befriended pigeons and become a ‘kabutar-wali’. A chronicle of dealing with urbanism, Kabutar Ja Ja is a solo performance, and it punctuates the convoluting, episodic form of the play. Dipti Mahadev is an Indian theatre and film actor and dancer. Born and brought up in Pune, she was trained in Kathak under Guru Manisha Sathe. The solo performer of this play, Mahadev portrays Suman Sharma with an unseemingly intense glee that, as the play unfurled, turned into the embodiment of capture and confinement.
On the 12th of October, we saw a flurry of fresh faces running around in space, lights being hefted here, to a makeup artist furiously dabbing away at the lead actress’s face. The darkening sky did nothing to dissuade the attendees of the play. The soft murmurings of the crowd seizes the moment the play started. An impactful beginning, narrated as the monologue of a Crime Patrol episode, had the crowd’s attention from the get-go, and Mahadev’s performance had the audience in splits. The light comedy of the first few scenes transitioned into darker themes as the play progressed, concluding in a bittersweet ending.
A post-play discussion with the stage crew yielded much insight into the play itself as well as the writer’s state of mind. The inspiration behind the play originated from the injustice done to the housewives of the common Indian household by not providing them with thought-provoking and culturally relevant information. All that one would be stuck with to entertain themselves would be daily soaps and the interactions with one’s neighbours. As articulated by our very own Mohini Khot during the discussion, ‘loneliness is the worst disease these days’.
The play was a humble success, with all the attendees appreciating the depth with which the play dealt with the growing urban crisis.