The play “Golpo Ta Jodi Shotti Hoto” gives an insight into the minds of the denizens of ‘Nischintapur’, validating that happiness is relative. We perceive a rich man to be contended. However one’s happiness cannot be evaluated based on his monetary assets. Similarly the King of Nischintapur possess all the luxury in the world and is ought to be satisfied, but he is not. The situation is quite ironical where in spite of having money and power The King abhors his life.
On the contrary we see that his subjects yearn to command The King’s position. The crown which symbolises royalty seems too heavy on the King’s head. The King wants to break the shackles of royal duties from his hand in order to savour the perks of a humble lifestyle. The lonely King longs for companionship as his wife and other family members do not show endearment towards him. Hence he veers out of his inner sanctum and tries to find a confidante among his countrymen. The King’s protracted loneliness has grown a seed of insecurity in his mind. King believes his Minister drugs him so that he loses his mental equilibrium and the Minister can assume power ousting him. Thus the King leads a life devoid of any emotional connect with his family and desperately aspire to get freedom.
The play opens with two thieves named Benda and Jota who are engaged in a conversation. Jota is flabbergasted on seeing that Benda has stolen the coat of The King’s Chowkidaar, responsible for protecting the palace. Jota is equally frightened on comprehending the consequences Benda may face for his misdeed. Finally convinced by Jota, Benda gives away the Chowkidaar’s coat to his lover Batashi. A sudden transformation was seen in Batashi’s character the moment she was bedecked in the Chowkidaar’s coat. Batashi speak s with an air of authority and her sweet voice is replaced by a baritone. Meanwhile the search for the coat starts. Jota, Benda and Batashi are absconding. So their relatives are penalised and threatened. The latter half of the play delves deeper into what was comprehensibly the prime outreach of the play, its theme and underlying implications.
The first of the scenes comprised of the three relatives of the thieves in a conversation to find a way out of the rattrap they were unfairly trapped in. The melodramatic fright of being sentenced severely brought about sobbing cries from the three, which however elongated to an extent of being overwrought. Although, what followed was a sequence of otherwise casual discussions amongst the band of thieves, some humourous fillers kept the audience engaged. . The subsequent scenes brought forth the King and his many intricate frustrations inspite of what seemingly was a lucrative life in the fine palace.
This particular part, perhaps even the prime segment of the play, brings forth several dormant colours of the storyline, making the audience pay rapt attention with renewed interest. The King’s position as a false head of the state, an ornamental designation just, and the subsequent digression of real decision making power to the ‘minister’ of state bore serious socio-political implications and drew, what maybe was, a daring contemporary parallel. This said and done, the king almost implores with the thieves to take him away with them. A palette of paradoxes unfolded therein with each sentence the King said out loud, in a monologue which was to follow. The choking sensation of the embellished clothes and royal gold he wore, the soothing sleep without a shade but with the sooth of the firmament sprinkled with stars, and many more realisations were moving enough, to make one smile in acceptance. An end was imminent on similar lines and so it did. The King, putting his foot down, broke from his own royal highness and stepped forth into an open world.
The actors did an excellent work. The person in the Chowkidaar’s role was hysterical. The King’s character requires a special mention. The way the actors emoted was laudable. The play may lack in other aspects but its acting performances conceal all other flaws.
The direction was commendable in terms of the usage of stage-space and movement while the props seemed lacking during certain scenes. The wings were utilised beautifully throughout the play with many subtleties of gesture and voice modulation in that regard, bringing about a very real experience of the setting of the scene.
The lighting, somewhat constant, could have been made better. Especially the scenes within the palace seemed to want more illumination to add lustre to the royal throne. Also, a faint, perhaps unintended bluish hue gave away the stage alterations when the scene shifts to that at the palace.
The scripting, in terms of words and phrases, at large was a fine reflection of the times in perspective. Sitting through the length of it however, one may find it stretched beyond necessary. The sprinkling of contemporary words in the dialogues of the minister-in-suit-boots is a wonderful highlight of the modern evil that is capitalism.
All in all, it was a fine showcasing of the conflicts of the mind and its macro-parallels in society.
- Pratik Chakraborty, Sagnik Ghosh