Sadichha-r Rangbadal by Smarannik is a colorful Bengali drama, delightful both in terms of acting as well content. Humorous and witty, the play convincingly engages the audience with what it is about.
The play, translated by Meghnad Bhattacharya and directed by Sayandeb Bhattacharya, tells the story of a family, a family in conflict. The father, an aging man, had acquired much wealth over the years. He had propelled the business idea convened by his father and himself, and had become a man of respect and livelihood. However, the respect he garnered in society was rivaled by the distaste his son felt for him. His son, who believed that his father wanted him to become a mere shadow of who he was, hated his father. Almost every conversation between the two in the play dripped with sarcasm and argument. Indeed, it did not help that the father himself abused the son every chance he got and labeled him as a 28-year-old ‘good for nothing.’ Thus, it is with this relationship dynamic between the two that the play progresses.
As we go further into the plot, we are introduced to their respective wives, a typically old, doting mother and an apparently sweet yet incredibly sharp daughter in law. The first half of the play focuses on showing the audience the way these relationships play out and ultimately ends with the father dying. A week after his death, they return from the lawyer, mourning a different kind of loss. The father, in his will, had left nothing behind for his family. Aside from a monthly stipend for his wife and pregnant daughter in law, everything he owned- all his property, wealth, shares and even the house they lived in was to be left in a trust that his son would inherit only when he turned 48. Till then, his son would have to go to the office everyday like a regular worker and earn his bread. The twist here lay in who the trustee of this trust was- a lady, powerful, the director of the company who also happened to be the old man’s mistress. If that weren’t enough, she was required to go live with his widowed wife and family till the realization of the fund.
The second half of the play focuses on the shift of the lady into the family, their initial hatred towards her and the eventual acceptance of her. Throughout the second half, we see the old man’s ghost around the house, commenting on the drama that ensued. At the fag end of the play, he gets shocked to see the bonding between them and is stunned at how they all collectively resolved him to be the root cause of all their problems. Unity, a thing their family could not achieve while he was alive, had been brought about after his death and that will. The biggest shocker of all, however, was the discovery that it was the daughter in law, who, by switching his pressure control pills, had pushed him towards his death. It was his mistress who found this out and who protected her even after knowing the truth.
Thus, this drama was an intriguing watch not only because it was entertaining but also because it dealt with several underlying layers of power, money, love and inter-personal familial relationships. The set too was intricately designed with the two ends being two bedrooms and the center stage being the common living and dining room. This facilitated the movement of the actors and ensured a seamless transition from one scene to another.
With Good acting and direction, the play was entertaining enough that the minor faults here and there, didn’t ruin the experience at all.
– Tania Mitra