Group: Little Thespian



Source: Premchand

Dramatizer-director: Uma Jhunjhunwala


Koi Aur Rāstā

Dramatist: Partap Sehgal

Director: Niloy Roy


Little Thespian’s last two productions place wronged wives centrestage. In Visarjan, dramatized by Uma Jhunjhunwala from Premchand’s story “Suhāg kā Shav”, Subhadra encourages her husband to accept a scholarship to study in London, where he falls in love with another woman and stops sending letters. Subhadra actually goes there to find out what happened to him, meets her by chance, and even witnesses their wedding secretly. Shattered, she leaves behind a box for him containing a few keepsakes and a farewell note.

In the monodrama Koi Aur Rāstā, the writer Partap Sehgal almost takes his cue from Premchand, but ends hopefully. His heroine becomes infatuated by a colleague’s good looks (most immature by today’s standards) and pursues him until he marries her. She selflessly takes care of her in-laws and their household but after his infidelity, she walks out on him and makes friends with another man, leading to a happy marital and family life this time. Slightly more complex in structure, it starts on a railway platform where she waits to depart, and then moves into her flashback.

Jhunjhunwala directs Visarjan, essentially a three-person play on which she has the good idea of using a chorus of respondents and narrators who deliver important lines from Premchand’s text. Her original lyrics for the songs are poignant, but the choreography remains quite basic. Parbati Kumari Shaw characterizes Subhadra with dignity.

Niloy Roy from Delhi directed Koi Aur Rāstā, inserting too much unnecessary stage business in the form of three extras who stand in for the other characters and carry out assorted actions, lighting table lamps and making phone calls (replicating the protagonist’s job of telephone operator). No doubt he did this to deflect the spotlight from focusing unremittingly on Jhunjhunwala’s solo acting in the lead. Perhaps he needed to challenge her more than he did.