If you are one of those people who think that theatres are a lost art form, you have certainly been watching the wrong kind. One man/woman performances are not new. From the likes of Pankaj Kapur in Dopehri to Ira Dubey in 9 Parts of Desire, each has been a gripping watch. Plays like these prove that it is very much possible for one actor to keep you engrossed for the duration of the play. Last year in June, Amit Ranjan Sahu performed Anubhuti for the first time and yesterday when I saw the show at Studio Tamaasha and it was the 9th time. Studio Tamaasha has a very intimate setting which connects the audience and the performer which only added to the performance.
The play starts with Amit Ranjan Sahu as Prakash Roy who is trying to get ready for a talk show hosted by the visually-disabled Kartik Kumar. Kartik Kumar receives a call and decides that he doesn't want to conduct the show. Kartik than begins to tell Prakash about the six people who gave him motivation during his time of need and how they overcame the lowest points in their life. Kartik is someone who inspires everyone through his talk show but he thinks that he is not making a difference. He first talks about an ageing father whose son left him in Kashi without money. He then talks about Harishbhai who cleans the sewages and gets drunk to escape the horror of cleaning them. The next person to inspire him is Surabhi Patnaik who was raped repeatedly as a child and is on the verge of finding happiness. The fourth person he talks about is Mahesh (who had also appeared on the show) who tells about the plight of his family as they were wrongfully accused in a dowry case by his daughter-in-law. He then talks about Manish Pandey who interrogated for a murder he did not commit and he talks about how he came to be a sex worker. The sixth person to inspire Kartik was Hashmat, who lost his legs in an accident prompting his fiancee to leave him and his job prospects to diminish.
You might think, that there are so many characters in this play but you will be surprised and even impressed when you see Amit Ranjan Sahu performing them with ease. He had some props to guide him but other than that it was his sheer performance skills which made him change from one character to next and he did so without a break. So much so that he has one character starting the sentence and the other finishing it. It was a smooth transition as he drifted from one character to another interchanging between them at will. He had also done the smart thing of sticking to only three characters at a time so as to not muddle the audience.
The play is without a break and you would certainly be impressed with the way he delivers you a number of fascinating characters in a single act. You can book tickets for the next performance in Mumbai here. You can catch the Bengaluru performance here.