There are many plays- satirical, ironic, comical and miraculous, to name a few; but they all have one thing in common – the ability to evoke irrevocable emotions in the audience. Dedh Inch Upar written by Nirmal Verma and directed by K.P Sah succinctly justifies this.
The play begins with an old gentleman entering a murky bar with a hat on his head puffing a cigar. Having been traumatised by the loss of his wife who was killed by the Gestapo police during WWII on charges of carrying illegal chits, the man romanticises his inevitable situation of actually not seeing his wife die. Set in the backdrop of 1960 Europe, the man reminisces about the traumatic events of his life. You might just feel that it’s a sad drunkard’s rant in the beginning, but as you listen to him and watch him slowly refilling his beer glass and unveiling his soul, you will realise that this old drunkard is giving away life’s most important lesson – to live Dedh Inch Upar .
The play is very much reminiscent of the post-war trauma after the World War II. The existential angst that was instilled in the ‘being’ of people post the Gestapo-fear of 1940s is tapped through our protagonist. Questioning after-life, organised religion, one’s purpose and identity, are crafted into this narrative that makes us relive the war terror. The fact that this man constantly rants about one thing and the other, going back and forth in the flashbacks of his life, sometimes making no sense at all and yet saying so much more, reminds us of the stream of consciousness synthesised with ‘absurdity of theatre’.
The aesthetics of the studio is at par with any other big auditorium in Delhi. The theatre lights and sounds were perfectly utilized to enhance the mood and intensity of the underlying emotions during the play. The studio itself was perfectly quaint and tranquil.
Dr. Mohit Sanwal not only plays the grim character but lives it. He talks with conviction in his eyes and his mannerism is perfectly in alignment to the situation. He, through his character, leaves a lasting impact of the play which is not too dramatised and a realistic version. Also, the moments when he is addressing the absent characters are worth a mention.
Theatre Aesthetics – 4/5
Acting – 4/5
Overall – 3.5/5
VENUE: STUDIO SAFDAR, DELHI