Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Ithi Ninna Amrita

A keenly awaited play was performed at the Rangashankara on 18th, 'Ithi Ninna Amrita'. It starred Arundathi Nag and Sreenivas Prabhu, two relatively renowned actors on the Kannada theatre scene. It started off with the two characters reading letters that they wrote each other through the years, in chronological order. After a couple of letters the novelty of the play's format wore off and it became apparent that the whole play was going to be just reading of more letters, and we were left wondering what the hell was happening. At first the Emperor's-New-Clothes syndrome forced me to look for profundity where, I realised later, none existed. And then I just gave up trying to sustain my interest. I became preoccupied with watching the stack of letters that were still to be read and trying to guess how much longer the ordeal would last.

You'd think that this would be an easy play to act in. I mean, how tough would READING be anyway. Arundathi Nag managed to ham-act in this role too!! Her Kannada was just plain pathetic. She slurred, she mispronounced, she paused in all the wrong places. Towards the end, she hardly got a sentence right. She was nearly as irritating as a mobile phone that rings in the middle of a play! I'm convinced that in the right hands, a parrot would have done better. Just because she owns that theatre doesn't mean she can mete out such torture. Sreenivas Prabhu on the other hand was the redeeming influence. Kannada sounds so sweet when he speaks that I was inspired to start reading a Kannada novel after a long time.
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