REVIEW: SIMANTINI

Simantini, a play adapted into Bengali, by Utpal Jha, and staged by Smarannik, under the direction of Mr. Sayandeb Bhattacharya, was as a play, was in a layman’s lingo, amazing.

This play has been adapted from another play by Somerset Maugham. The cast was a family, with a very minimal number of heads on stage, hence maximum dialogues being assigned to the artists. The Husband of the family, “Dr. Chowdhury” (played by Mr. Sayandeb Bhattacharya, who has also directed the play) is involved in an affair with another woman named “Rangeela” (taken up by Mrs. Supti Basu) while being in a fifteen year old married relationship with a lady called “Kaninika” (played by Mrs. Swati Dey). Kaninika and Dr. Chowdhury have been together for fifteen years and they had a daughter named “Titli” who was not casted on the stage. The sister is of Kaninika, “Manisha” (Priyanka Bhattacharya), is known to it and is visibly disturbed by the fact that her brother in law has an extra-Mrital affair with her sister’s friend, and naturally is at daggers drawn to Rangeela; and the mother of Kaninika, “Mrs. Roy” is known yet holds an extremely misogynic ideology about marital affairs and keeps all ignorant about the same.

However, Kaninika seems to be completely oblivion of the work that happens in the Doctor’s chamber. Also, to weave in a lot of contrast in the characters on the stage, the character of the house-maid, “Maya” (Debasree Das) was weaved into the total set. Another character of Weiss was “Binayak”(Dipankar Banerjee), a suitor of Kaninika, whom she rejected and married Dr. Chowdhury, takes a turn back from his business in Japan, after 15 years, and decides to come back to Kolkata. Now, one day “Mr. Pashupati”(Mr. Goswami), who happens to be the husband of Rangeela comes and turns a new leaf to Kaninika, and what happens after, is the story.

Undoubtedly, Mr. Sayandeb Bhattacharya has directed the play in a very smooth and flawless manner, and that he has also acted, that too with the proficiency of such, marks his way along the benchmarks in the Bengali Theater scene in this Millenia. Mrs. Supti Basu, as an actress, has shown how far has she been seasoned, that, which seemed to be slight mumbles for lost threads in dialogues, she made it as fluent as a planned stammer. Kaninika, the protagonist, is an extremely calm, mathematical and logical woman, with all her mind and actions, are thought before and aftermaths being taken into account and a character of that accord, is very fluently worn by Mrs. Swati Dey. The anger and the disgust, dripping from every single word that Manisha spoke, on stage, through the mouth of Priyanka Bhattacharya was crystal clear about her expertise in acting.

The entire play has a deep underlying message for women empowerment, which any educated person can comprehend and such a serious topic is conveyed so lightly that without paying attention to the small and peculiar details on the stage, one can easily miss the message.

Props, lights and background scores were thoughtfully planned into setting the mood so as to engage the attention of the audience a tad bit more.

The dialogues are wittily made and weaved into the moods of the play and the scenes of the play swim into each other without any choke, anywhere.  Comedy is the key to the uniqueness of this play, it is also the same thing that makes it an unforgettable experience.

– Vireshwar Das

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