Artistes in action
Artistes in action

With a dash of humour, city-based Darpan Theatre addresses problems faced by the elderly in Khatarnaak Khaala

The portrayal of the versatile character khaala gains an additional layer through the incorporation of slapstick comedy

Darpan Theatre Group's upcoming play — Khatar naak Khaala promises entertainment with a wonderful blend of satire and laughter. The incorporation of a lively Hyderabadi accent, peppered with relatable jargons, coupled with interludes of music and dance during the play, transforms the theatrical experience into a delightful and entertaining journey for the audience.

The storyline revolves around a short-tempered elderly woman — khaala (aunt) who holds a dominant presence, instilling fear in everyone around her. The portrayal of the versatile character khaala gains an additional layer through the incorporation of slapstick comedy. Despite her strict and dominating demeanour, the drama introduces humourous moments, such as khaala playfully beating her husband. Along with the elderly couple, the play also features a house help. A life insurance agent pays a visit to their home, and the couple initiates an unsolicited conversation, delving into personal queries while extending hospitality with offers of food and tea, despite the kitchen lacking ingredients. They persist in asking if he desires anything to eat and when he expresses interest, they amusingly refrain from providing any food. The couple intentionally confuses the life insurance agent, entangling him in convoluted conversations that add elements of humourous perplexity to the unfolding interaction.

Director of the play Ali Ahmed tells us that the old couple, living away from their kids who have settled abroad, feel lonely. To cope, with loneliness they engage with people to pass the time and distract themselves from their pain. While the play evokes laughter in between, the end leaves the audience with many thoughts to ponder upon. Ali says, “Some elders in old Hyderabad, alone and missing children, navigate life’s challenges. Growing up there, I intimately understand their experiences. Despite having performed this play numerous times in the city, there is always an eager anticipation from the audience.”

If you are from old Hyderabad, you’ll likely find points of relatability with the characters. Ali emphasises the importance of observing people, including family members, to craft compelling stories as an artiste and director. He chuckles, revealing that certain traits in the lead character of the play find relevance with his own grandmother’s nature, who is loving yet strict and exceptionally particular about her work.

Rahul Kamelakar, who is playing the role of khaalu (khaala’s husband), tells us, “My role involves appearing powerful outwardly but being soft and submissive in front of my wife. Despite his seniority, khaalu doesn’t let age define him. Young at heart, he finds joy in singing, music, and dancing, and is an overall happy-go-lucky person.” The play emerges as universally relevant, catering to audiences across age groups. With a blend of entertainment, humour, and meaningful content, it offers a compelling viewing experience.

Tickets at Rs 200. December 24, 8 pm.
Lamakaan, Banjara Hills 

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