Harishankar Parsai’s classic gets a stage makeover by Chennai’s Orcha Productions

Chennai’s Orcha Productions recreates a Harishankar Parsai classic in Tamil
A scene from Dhinak Dhinak Dhin.. Radha
A scene from Dhinak Dhinak Dhin.. Radha

CITY-BASED ACTOR-director Nikhil Kedia, who has worked with various theatre companies like Stray Factory and The Madras Players and founded Orcha Productions is coming up with his second play called, Dhinak Dhinak Dhin.. Radha. Having already staged Betrayal, by Harold Pinter, also directed by Nikhil, the group’s latest one is a set in a neighbourhood where four boys fall for the same girl. “It’s a situational black comedy and has a quirky narrative,” says Nikhil. Excerpts:

What was the inspiration behind this production?

I’ve read this short story in my college and also performed it with my seniors. The subject of women being subjugated is something that I am concerned about. I always wanted to perform this play in Chennai but I was hesitant to perform it in Hindi. I recited this short story to one of my team members and he pitched the idea of doing it in Tamil instead. I was initially sceptical but as we started, the actors started improvising in their own language, thus making the scenes look rustic. It made me believe that this play, although difficult to translate, will resonate with anyone from the country. The audience is going to experience different cultures, styles of music and languages in this show.

What were the challenges?

Adapting this play in different languages was itself a challenge. When you change the language of the text, the culture also changes. Once I had this sorted, everything fell into its place. It wasn’t hard to depict on stage. This play is very simple to understand.

What’s the story about?

This play is an adaptation of Hari Shankar Parsai’s classic short story Ek Ladki, Paanch Deewane (‘one girl, five lovers’) which looks at gender and comments on the status of women in society. The plot of our play revolves around a neighbourhood where four men belonging to different social strata are madly infatuated by a young girl. Each character with their innovative tricks and proposals tries to impress Radha.

What kind of dialogues and music can we expect?

Every character renders their dialogues differently. Some are poetic, some colloquial and others literal. There are also musical dialogues, accompanied with live and recorded music. We have tried composing them with different instruments, and have tried to recreate the sound of the ’80s.

Describe the costumes and the set.

As this play is a period one set in the ’80s, the costumes are vibrant and the set is simple. I’m not keen on making grandiose sets because I want to travel with my plays. Having a set may set boundaries, limitations and restrictions. Much of the ideas of which have been provided by the actors. Introduce us to the cast of the play. There are six of us in total, all of whom have been working really hard and pushed their limits. Each actor has his own zest, which is why I believe this play would make the audience to fall in love with them. Satish Kumar, who hails from Delhi is the most rustic actor. His music and singing skills are the strongest points. Dhaarshan Ramkumar Ganesan, and Ranji, who helped me translate the play in Tamil — they are the backbone of this play. Pranav Thomas, the youngest of all plays the oldest character — his moves are going to be treat for all. And then there’s Pooja Bohra, the only female actor who has an important role in the play.

What's the target audience?

The target audience for the comedy-drama genre with social commentary is general. There is no target audience, as this play is for everyone who needs to be aware of the subject. There is a very important message in this play and the audience needs to know and do something about it.

Will we see the production in other cities soon?

Yes, we are travelling with this play in other cities like Coimbatore, Erode, Bangalore and Kolkata.

What are the upcoming projects that you are working on at the moment?

We are working on a few ideas like solo performances and dark genres.

At Alliance Française of Madras. September 13-14. 4 pm and 7 pm. Tickets available online.

You can get in touch with the writer at karan.pillai@newindianexpress.com or follow him on Twitter @karan_pillai

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