Presented by the second year students of the National School of Drama the production excelled in, almost, all the departments of theatrical arts be it acting, blocking, set, costume, make-up, music, light design, lyrics or the performing text. Set around contemporary social issues, the play was made discernible with the help of relevantly coloured costumes, expressive make-up, hummable tunes and lyrics.
Presented in farcical style, the main theme of the play was based on a ‘know all’ guru. Navigating through three different tracks of Manchala Mandali, Ganika Mandali, and Guru Mandali, the performing text was so spontaneously interwoven with one another that the audience felt the transformation long after its inception.
Brinda Nayak as Rampyari, Pankaj Mathur as Phurri Lal and E Vivek as Amavasi acted remarkably well and were admirably supported by Jina Vaishya, Rukmini Sircar, Swati Dubey, Daood Hussain, Rohit Jain, Manohar Pandey, Devendra Ahirvar and others.
The voice texture of the artists was not only outstanding, but also had its pitching in accordance with the requirement. This particular batch of students are promising and may become an outstanding generation of excellent artists. Designed to accommodate a large cast, the two layer stage facilitated smoother movements. Costumes designed by Kriti V Sharma were thematically supportive and helped distinguish each character individually.
Another strength of the play was its music. Popular songs were beautifully inserted to suit the mood and support the text.
Originally written in Sanskrit by Vatsaraja as Hasyachudamani, Khel Mandali Khel was adapted by Bansi Kaul, Satish Dave and late Waqar Faruqi.
The performing text of the play was prepared by Ravindra Tripathy—a veteran, who is also a drama and film critic. Light design of Souti Chakraborty was conducive enough to create a perfect natural ambience.
Bansi Kaul is a popular name in the contemporary theatre and his design and direction was inclusive i.e. allowing every individual and aspect of theatre to stand independently on their own strength.
The curtain call was appropriately acknowledged by the audience with thunderous and prolonged applause, a sign, denoting high standandard of the production.