A typical Bollywood number “Ishaq Benaraswala” sets the mood for this play that attempts to pay tribute to both the lust and lure of Bollywood as well as its unsavoury aftertaste. The premise of the play is perfect: two junior artists on the sets of a Bollywood film set in the religious and conservative city of Kashi. While the filmy stars require the local labor, the latter rely on 400 rupees a day to make ends meet. But this symbiotic relationship is not without its cracks. For the urbane elite, the other is an uncouth entity to be used and disposed of, and for the junior artists, the other is the site of both envy and desire. Mosambi Prasad (Rajit Kapur) and Narangi Lal (Ajeet Singh Palawat) become the perfect conduits for the class and language divide that lie between the different makers of the dream factory called Bollywood.
Unfortunately, they are more effective as a social message rather than a theatrical spectacle. The Herculean task of playing multiple characters is well executed by Kapur and Palawat. However, their labor of love falls weak in the light of a script, which becomes repetitive and relies heavily on stereotypes- of the naive, fragile, English-speaking intern, of the arrogant, dominant director, of the too-elite-for-rural-world actress, the weed-seeking light man, the disillusioned, failed actor of yesteryear. The paraphernalia of a Bollywood set is perfectly recreated for the set design but the clashing, shifting accents and characters soon begin to turn a bit cacophonous. The sympathy of the audience lies more with the actors who are pulling more theatrical weight than should be the fair share of the actors. Yes, they are delightful, yes, they are dramatic yet it would be fair to ask the question- where is the sound and fury leading? For, a mere recreation of the cliche and the familiar limits the scope of the stage.