Mulya: The values and vindication
Two brothers, old furniture and the insoluble debate on values of life seem to be pertinent even in contemporary times. Thespian Asit Mukhopadhyay's brilliant adaptation of 'The Price' by Arthur Millar years ago, which was staged as Nilam Nilam still holds water to stir up the discussion with same veracity. Last show of Mulya was nothing short of it.
It was a nerve wrecking one and a half hour of showtime with the star performers, belonging to different generations, took the stage. Victor Franz as Bijoy Narayan comes to Calcutta to dispose of the old furniture of his house which once belonged to his father, an established businessman, who incurred huge loss in his business in his later life and went into depression. Bijoy is a policeman with Calcutta police who is nearing his retirement. He chose to sacrifice his studies in college to support his ailing father and conveniently blames his brother, Walter Franz aka Sujoy Narayan for his destiny. He cannot forget his past and is annoyed by the way Sujoy had mistreated him and his father to selfishly fulfill his ambition to become a renowned doctor. Thereafter, Sujoy and Bijoy were not in touch with each other for many years. To get rid of the antique furniture of his father's house, Bijoy contacts an octogenarian secondhand furniture broker, Shailyo Mohan Sur. When the deal is almost made Sujoy suddenly enters the house and the situation takes a dramatic turn. Both the brothers confront each other after years when the past residing in anger, hatred, guilt, jealousy, blame game and mean-mindedness between them come to the fore. Each of them builds up a wall of justification for their past plan of action. Their arguments do not convince the other despite severe efforts by Bijoy's wife, Anita who expresses her helplessness, frustrations and suffering of the past to mediate between them. While Sujoy tries to make up for his guilt by offering a job to Bijoy in his own venture. Bijoy rejects the offer owing to the fact that he envies Sujoy and does not trust him at all. He is sure that Sujoy has some other motive behind his offer.
Bratya Basu as Sujoy shows an unprecedented genre of acting by getting into the skin of the character. He brings out different shades of the character with different level of emotions of a human mind on stage. He articulates with poise, expresses his inherent anger and hatred towards his elder brother, moves around with elegance, shivers to suppress his emotional outbursts symbolic of his past illness, justifies his every move of exercising his right to pursue what he wants to become in future while he unfolds the untold in the process of their conversation. We see in his expression the unnerving resilience to achieve the goal of his life as he finally rues over his own actions and offers to make up for it. Bratya dominates the stage with his stupendous acting prowess and leaves the audience awestruck with the undertone in his acting. The first half of the show is taken over completely by veteran theatre artiste Rajat Ganguly, in the role of Shailyo Mohan Sur. The audience is fascinated to discover another awe-inspiring performance of this stage professional. His subtlety in movement, delivery and diction and timing on stage is exemplary. Senjhuti Mukhopadhyay, as Bijoy's wife, Anita displays a matured performance with her limp and sudden perturbed emotional eruption. She develops her character well in the role of an arbitrator between the brothers. Experienced Debshankar Haldar adds to the appeal of the show when we get to see some old glimpses of his acting style in the play.
Dishari Chakraborty as a sound designer adds to the eminence of the show while Sudip Sanyal has aesthetically designed the light projection. Bilu Dutta has an interesting set design. Debasish Roy, the director is at his artistic best after his prolific direction in Hridipash and Ila Gurhoisha. His job has obviously been made easier with the presence of iconic stars in theatre. However, he admittedly expressed the challenges he has faced in making these talents work together. Producer, Bijoy Mukherjee, the director of Ballygunge Bratyajon, emphasized on familial moral values and its consequences on decision making in a particular context and time in life. Through this production, he wished to reignite the issue of balancing acts as one moves ahead in life. His passion for theatre is evident when he informed us about buying the set of antique furniture at a high price for the play. Mulya is a pricey tribute to Asit Mukhopadhyay with the concoction of superstars of theatre.