Three big-ticket productions on national tours all converted their prose sources into lightweight theatre. Prime Time’s Salaam, Noni Appa, dramatized by Adhir Bhatt from Twinkle Khanna’s story, included two entirely redundant characters – the daughter and handyman – and a third, the sister, employed merely for laughs. Lillete Dubey should realize that she and Darshan Jariwala, as the widow and her unhappily married yoga teacher, could make it a superior, more intense play just by themselves, like Arbuzov’s Old World. We expect more layered direction from her. Not having read the original, I cannot comment whether the fault lies in Khanna’s writing or Bhatt’s hackneyed dramaturgy.

Nor can I understand the logic behind the Aadyam-supported Akvarious Productions’ Under the Gypsy Moon, based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Srikānta. Akarsh Khurana compresses the rambling novel into 70 minutes, creating nothing more than a SparkNotes plot synopsis. By presenting only the main events, he ignores whatever flavour of life and memories that Sarat Chandra evoked. A 20-member cast is severely underutilized. Even the title confounds: why “gypsy”? The word has no resonance with Bengal; did Khurana find it in some bad translation? In using it, he has misled himself and non-Bengali audiences.

As followers of this column know, I have an allergy to celebrity memoirs staged. Any decent author writes better, but their work attracts few spectators. Instead, the most uninspiring confessions of a page-3 star guarantee full houses. Anupam Kher’s solo shows provide the model of such self-indulgence in the movie industry. So I harboured sceptical notions about Suchitra Krishnamoorthi’s dramatization for AGP World of her own autobiography (at the ripe old age of 40), Drama Queen. It surprised me pleasantly that she began on a high, with her powerful vocals. Thereafter, she never sang again, and the script slowly deteriorated into plaints of single motherhood with predictable humour and relationship revelations. Director Inaayat Ali Sami did nothing to improve it. Worst of all, Krishnamoorthi projected one refrain: how to hook a rich husband. Even conceding ironic intent, how regressive can one get?

(From The Telegraph, 18 November 2017)