AAI REVIEW – Tansen

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Tanna se Tansen tak…Taani se Hussaini tak…Gayak se Nav Ratna tak…Rewa se Agra tak…Ram Chand se Akbar tak…it had all!!

TANSEN presented by Prism Theatre and The Dramatic Art & Design Association at the Sri Ram Centre on the 20th August 2017 was indeed one the best things one could witness at the start of this Music, Dance and Theatre season.

Working all these years with Govind Singh Yadav I have always known him as a very good and sought after Light Design | Support person. Little did I know about this excellent Theatre Director hiding inside him.

Truly speaking at the beginning I had thought that it would be one of the usual boring musicals often seen in the theatres. What took my interest as soon as I entered the auditorium was the set up. I saw three risers on the stage. Two on each side for the four musicians and one in the middle for, I don’t know who. There were two mikes on this centre stage riser. Would there be two vocalists? If yes, then where is the space left on the stage for acting? Tansen should be a big setup with many people, isn’t it? But I could only see a set up for musicians, where are the actors going to do their stuff.

Amongst all these random thoughts the play started. I cannot tell you, what I saw next was pure magic! The play started with the musicians and the two vocalists | hosts taking seats on the centre riser. These two vocalists | hosts, Mohd. Faheem and Sudheer Rikhari, were actually the various characters of the life of the legendary vocalist | musician, Mia Taansen. They played each and every character in the play with such finesse that it seemed those roles were only meant for them. Both of these actors were equally complemented by Ridhima Bagga who played all the feminine characters in the play. The musicians were not just playing the instruments but were also a part of the play delivering dialogues and acting together with the hosts. This was something quite contrary to the musicals usually seen where the musicians sit in the music pit and keep playing music and the characters on stage keep delivering dialogues irrespective of the fact that it is not travelling through to the audience.

It started becoming really interesting when the hosts started interacting with the audience amidst their storytelling, getting them into the enactment, asking them questions and making them sing sargam along with them. The whole auditorium was singing. Their storytelling was very unique and remarkable. It took me into my days of childhood when I used to read Akbar Birbal, Panchatantra ki Kahaniya, Malgudi Days etc. and used to travel to those times and places in my dreams.

I don’t know the technicalities of Theatre and am sure you all have seen much better acts but for me TANSEN was a real visual treat. A special mention to Mohd. Faheem and Sudheer Rikhari for an excellent script, Govind Singh Yadav who lit his own act beautifully and Ridhima Bagga for the apt costumes and not overdoing them. Always ready to watch such outstanding theatre.

Please N.B. – I am not an artist or a technical person to comment on or judge any aspect of the performance. I do understand what all pain one takes and the courage one puts up to present such a performance and highly appreciate and respect it. Whatever I write is purely what I feel sitting in the audience.

Photographs @ Arijeet Mukherjee
Copyright @ Artist Association of India

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