Kanjoos@Parramasala- A Remarkable Production

Kanjoos@Parramasala- A Remarkable Production

21I have seen and reviewed many dramas in India and Sydney, but I had been waiting eagerly to watch Kanjoosafter Saba ZaidiAbdi formed Adakar Theatre Group and announced its first production in 2013.

Saba is a renowned TV and theatre personality, well known in India for her outstanding work as a TV drama director and producer with Doordarshan.She has collaborated with renowned Indian directors Satyajit Ray, ShyamBenegal and MS Sathyu.

After moving to Australia Saba pioneered the first South Asian DTH TV platform Vision Asia and was its CEO for eight years, she is currently in strategic alliance with Fetch TV.

As a founding artistic director of Adakar Theatre group Saba announced this production last year and worked tirelessly on it for nine months with her talented team.

Being a perfectionist, Saba wanted everything perfect-be it music, sets, props, costumes, lights, acting, dialogue delivery, there was lot to do, but her work was rewarded, when Kanjoosbecame a Parramasala 2014 umbrella event.

The play was staged at the Riverside Theatre on 18th October, as part of a three-day cultural festival ‘Parramasala’, organized by the NSW Government and Parramatta Council.

Kanjoos is an Indian adaptation of Molière’s French comedy The Miser. Set in mid-20th century Northern India, the play is a blend of satire and humour, exploring the depth of human greed, lust and manipulation.

Kanjoos follows the tribulations of Mirza Sakhawat Ali Baig, a stingy old man obsessed with the accumulation of his wealth. Seeking to marry both his children off for money, Mirza himself is determined to marry the young and attractive Mariyamwhose heart belonged to Mirza’s son Farrukh.

Steeped in family politics, greed, misunderstanding and laced with Molière’s comedic magic, Kanjoos was a successful production!

Adaptation of The Miserin Hindustani was done by HazratAwara. It was interesting to see how Saba workedcreatively with a cast of twelve actors- Amitav Goswami-Mirza Sakhawat Ali Baig,ShashiDandekar-Dalal, Aparna Vats-Azra, AmbikaAsthana-Mariyam, AsifGhafoor Khan-Farrukh, VikasSehgal-Nasir, NisarSurghru-Nabbu, SatishMathur-Alfu, Syed KhurramQaisar-Khaira and PankajYadav-Havaldar.

The play started with an introduction by the MC RadhikaMathur. It then moved to an Indian household, where Mirza is worried about his gold coins. His son, daughter, servants knew about his hidden secret and were in search of his buried treasure.

All the actors managed to depict the graph of their characters’ journey well. Amitav Goswami as Mirza Sakhawat Ali Baigtook the audience on a roller-coaster of emotions, with snippets of laughter.

Saba Abdi as Farzinawas successful in her sensitive embodiment of the middle-aged matchmaker Bua.Another noticeable actor was SatishMathur as Alfu, who played the double role of a cook and a coach. Sydney based senior actor ShashiDandekar’s role was small but he was noticed by the audience.

AmbikaAsthanaand Aparna Vatslooked stunning in their 20h century Indian costumes and acted well too. VikasSehgalas Nasir and AsifGhafoor Khan as Farrukhdid justice to their roles.PankajYadav as hawaldar and Nisar as servant Nabbu suited their characters.

Qawwaliwritten by Ashraf Shad and BhupinderMintu’s music, at the opening and the end the closing scenes, created mood and atmosphere. The production impressed in the visual department with an inventive set by talented artist Rajiv Maini and crisp light designby DruvjyotiGhosh.

Costumes and jewellery were chosen carefully by Mala Mehta and Saba Abdi. Make-up artists were KulwinderKaur and AnjuKalra. Mala Mehta gave thevote of thanks, whereas Sheba Nandkeolyar felicitated Saba by presenting her a bouquet of flowers. Overall good team work. No doubt that Sydney siders enjoyed this remarkable production and look forward to many more!

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