Through the oral narratives, rumours and gossip of the Bose family as encoded in Subhas Chandra Bose’s grand niece Madhuri Bose in her book The Bose Brothers and Indian Independence, came alive PlayPen’s latest production- The Bose Legacy. The serialized “chapters” ordered the bond between the two brothers Sarat Chandra Bose (Asif Ali Beg) and Subhas Chandra Bose (Asmit Pathare). The leaps and jumps in time delineated the emotional curve of Amiya Bose (Shantanu Ghatak). From the co-created performance script courtesy Nikhil Katara and Himali Kothari, one question beckons an answer “Where do we find the freedom to think?” The answer can be found in Netaji’s unpublished book aptly titled Pebbles on the Seashore, which he explained as “portions of knowledge lying unexplored”. The Bose Legacy offered a theatrical version of that- stringing together portions of knowledge the reminiscences of Amiya and Madhuri Bose.
“Nikhil and Himali use the stage space as an architectural design filled with bodies and voices.”
Nikhil and Himali use stagespace as an architectural design filled with bodies and voices. Merely seating Ghatak on a chair with Pathare reading from over his shoulder simultaneously captures the reader, the writer as well as the context of the letter. It reminds the audience that letters are about memory that merges the voice and the visual. The rise of metaphorical dawn mirrored in the projected image of the rising sun is a subtle tool that is evocative. The prop of the trunk stored with books and letters blurs the line between published history, recorded stories, memory and oral narratives. Much like The Bose Legacy itself echoes the much maligned 1960s rhetoric of “The personal is the political”. This was further reconstructed through the conversation between Madhuri Bose and the inimical playwright Mahesh Dattani and one could see a truly personal yet political voice making an appeal for a re-imagined, rational and progressive Indian nation today.