Manoj Mitra’s acclaimed play Pakhi is reimagined as Panchhi
Bengali playwright, theatre and film actor Manoj Mitra’s play Pakhi from the ’80s is among the best social dramas and is relevant even today. While it has been staged in Bengali many times, a new translated version of the play titled Panchhi, has been in the news for having won five awards at the International Theatre Festival in Bareilly in December last year.
The play will premiere in Bengaluru this weekend. A production by the Theatre Co-operative — a collective of theatre practitioners, who have been brought together by the Tortilla Entertainment Company, a theatre group, the play looks at social conditioning and expectations. Panchhi is the story of a lower middle class man, Nitish, and his wife Shyama. Nitish is a struggling salesman who finds it hard to live a good life. While Nitish’s friends are well-to-do, he finds it difficult to match their lifestyle. As his fifth anniversary approaches, Nitish decides to host a lavish party and even goes to the extent of using his Provident Fund deposit to bear the costs.
“The story highlights the angst of a middle-class man and his aspirations,” explains Srinivas Naidu, the director. “But his wife is cautious and keeps warning him against spending so much money and is also wary of her husband’s friends. Eventually, by the time Nitish realises his mistake, Shyama’s observations are validated,” he adds. Mitra’s plays have always brought to stage the changing face of Indian society and in an age where a person’s status is measured by his or her social life, this play is the extremely relevant.
Rs 300. February 24, 4 pm and 7 pm. At Alliance Francaise