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Produced By Rage
For the past 23 years, with productions like I’m not Bajirao, A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters and Jesus Christ Superstar,RAGE has kept audiences all around the world thoroughly entertained.
The original play is essentially about young three friends who take a journey to a place called Ross to scatter the ashes of their dead friend, Ross. The format of the play is unusual wherein three boys play themselves as well as other characters, and the fourth boy, the dead friend Ross, plays himself as well as a host of other characters. We are seeking to adapt the play to a typical urban Indian scenario. The play is set primarily in Mumbai, where three FYJC boys set out to Anand to distribute the ashes of their friend, Anand. Their travels start at VT station as they board the train, they travel through Delhi and onto Anand, as we experience a true ‘coming of age’ story – one that will appeal to people of all ages – audiences who are into either new age stories or nostalgia will both be satisfied. The rhythm of the speech, the spontaneous exuberance of the boys and the colour of India, all come through in this play.
Produced By RageMore Info+
Directed By Nadir Khan
The Daily Pao
7th October 2017
‘ANAND EXPRESS’ PLAY REVIEW: NADIR KHAN’S DRAMA IS A COMPELLING YET FLAWED PORTRAIT OF FRIENDSHIP
Director: Nadir Khan
Adapted by: Akarsh Khurana
Cast: Chaitnya Sharma, Siddharth Kumar, Sukant Goel, Vivaan Shah
Language: English, Hindi
In Anand Express, the fourth Aadyam production of their ongoing season, Rage Productions returns to the theme of friendship. It’s a subject the Mumbai-based theatre group has visited time and again in plays such as Love Letters (1993), Class of ’84 (2003) and Pune Highway (2004). Directed by frequent Rage collaborator Nadir Khan, Anand Express is Akarsh Khurana’s adaptation of British playwright Carl Miller’s stage version of compatriot Keith Gray’s 2008 novel Ostrich Boys. It’s a worthy attempt to sketch a portrait of a long friendship, which like all lasting relationships is filled with brotherhood, betrayal and forgiveness. There are many compelling moments in Anand Express yet the play leaves you with a slight sense of dissatisfaction, as if you’ve had an incomplete meal. This is because there’s not enough feeling, a sense that the characters are truly experiencing the gale of emotion that moves them to act the way they do.
Three college buddies Kenny (Siddharth Kumar), Wasim (Chaitnya Sharma) and Neeraj (Vivaan Shah) want to give their deceased friend Anand (Sukant Goel) a meaningful send-off. They feel the funeral was a sham as it was attended by people who made Anand’s life miserable, his ex Tanya, a lisping professor called Mr. Saxena and Dhingra the bully. So they purloin his ashes and flee to Anand in Gujarat. Because Anand had always wanted to go to Anand.
The three couldn’t be more different. Neeraj is the practical one, the shepherd attempting to drive his flock to Anand without delay. Kenny is a baby, worrying endlessly about his mother worrying about his whereabouts. Wasim has the mien of a street tough. Unlike the others, he lives in a chawl and speaks accented English flecked with guttersnipe Bombay Hindi that suggests he’s from a lower class. There’s a lovely moment that shows the boys are familiar enough with each other to crack classist jokes. When Wasim ribs Kenny over being a clumsy wuss, Kenny slyly tells him to pronounce ‘tuberculosis’.
The three have switched their phones off and left the city telling no one of their mission. They have a few adventures en route, including a dalliance with some girls they meet on the train. Along the way, it emerges that there’s more to Anand’s death than the three initially let on. Was it simply a case of hit and run? And is their often reiterated outrage over Saxena, Dhingra and Tanya’s presence at the funeral blustery cover for something else?
This is the part where the play gets interesting. The journey to deposit Anand’s ashes is as much for the memory of their friend as it is an act of atonement for Kenny, Wasim and Neeraj. Each is guilty of less than honourable actions in Anand’s lifetime and this mini odyssey is an attempt at absolution. The frustration over reaching their destination triggers an outpouring of anger, accusation and confession in an episode that’s in contrast to the rest of the playfully-spent trip. It’s puzzling that the trio shows such little sign of grief. This is conveniently dismissed in a conversation between Neeraj and one of the girls they meet about how boys tend to suppress emotion unlike girls. There’s a point when the three glance into the urn of ashes and a shadow of sadness crosses their faces. But the feeling of loss and shock over the suddenness of the death doesn’t quite come through. As a result you have to work hard to build sympathy for Kenny, Wasim and Neeraj’s remorseful exercise.
7th October 2017
JUNE 25, 2017
ANAND EXPRESS: A POIGNANT TALE OF FRIENDSHIP AND MEMORIES
Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena
Adapted from Keith Gray’s Ostrich Boys, Akarsh Khurana’s play is all about coming of age and coping with loss….
When you think bro-mance, Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara spring inevitably to mind. In a completely different vein and in a different genre, Anand Express creates the nuances of friendship on stage and raises the question, “How far would you go for your best friend?” The Rage Production presentation, which is directed by Nadir Khan and adapted for the Indian stage by Akarsh Khurana, is based on the original theatrical version by Carl Miller which in turn was a dramatic rendition of Keith Gray’s Ostrich Boys.
The plot: This is a coming of age tale, bittersweet, humorous but with tragic undertones. Placed firmly in the Indian – and more particularly Bandra — context by Khurana, it is easy to connect with on different levels. At first glance, very simply – there is a quartet of friends: Neeraj, Wasim, Kenny and Anand. The fourth dies and the remaining three, overwhelmed by the grief of their loss, set off on a journey to fulfil his desire of being ‘Anand in Anand’. As their journey unfolds, especially as they reach close to their destination, the story brings to light disturbing and distressing undercurrents encompassing emotions like fear, betrayal and guilt. Its non-linear progression adds to the drama. To say more, would be a spoiler alert; instead you should just join them in their breathless journey. For it is a play that will draw in the young – who will identify with it completely – and the young at heart who will be taken back to their good old days!
The actors: The four – Sukant Goel, Chaitanya Sharma, Siddharth Kumar and Vivaan Shah – play their roles to the hilt, with an exuberance and passion that is so characteristic of late adolescence. Their on-stage chemistry works in their favour as not only do they play their appointed roles, but also slip into other ones on their journey from Mumbai to Anand, and this is done swiftly and convincingly in the audience’s plain sight. Watch out for their gender-bender appearances, as three of them don the avatars of young girls.
The set: The stage is simple, almost minimalistic, with a huge Rubik cube like structure on it, with movable cubes and frames. The actors use this space (as well as the entire stage) effectively as the story line demands and it provides the ‘screen’ to play videos, show notations and scene changes along the way. Avid theatregoers will find it a sharp contrast and relief to conventional stage settings.
The Aadyam Experience: It believes in nurturing talent and fostering the relationship between the audience and the creators of art. In its third year, Aadyam Theatre, an Aditya Birla initiative, has returned to the halls with a bunch of productions. Under its aegis, theatre lovers can enjoy a gamut of emotions, characters and tales in a basket of offerings. These include Guards at the Taj, Gajab Kahani, Bandish, Anand Express, Mother Courage and Her Children, Under The Gypsy Moon and 3 Penny Opera.
28th June 2017
The play is about three friends who strive to fufil the wish of their dead friend Anand who always wanted to visit anand city in Gujarat. They get (or rather steal) his ashes and proceed to anand without informing their family members. The comic and emotional situations they encounter enroute forms the core of the play. The play has some good comic moments but at times gets monotonous probably due to lack of characters of different hue (same guys double up as girl or even father of the dead boy) and that dampens the storytelling. This play may be watched once if you are an theatre enthusiast. More than the play, I loved the ambience of the theatre St. andrew's auditorioum which is too good to be a college audi. Kids and wife were happy to win few prizes while waiting in the hall as various activities were going on. To the venue i would give four and half star.
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