Barff: Play Review

Kashmir is the go-to place for filmmakers who wish to give their audience a visually appealing experience. This has worked for many films, the most recent being Haider, Fitoor, Highway, and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Besides the plot and star cast, the picturesque locations of these movies have made them worth a watch. Highly acclaimed director, actor and writer Saurabh Shukla has tried the technique in his new play and it has worked wonders for him. 

Barff, starring Sadia Siddiqui, Sunil Palwal and Shukla himself, is a thriller that covers the events of a cold, snowy night in a village in Kashmir. Saurabh Shukla plays Dr. Siddhanth Kaul, who comes to the aid of two desperate parents of an ailing child. The play opens with a look at the simple, yet aesthetically elaborate production, with Dr. Kaul making his way to the couple’s house, through the snow-filled lanes of an abandoned village. He is accompanied by the sick child’s father, played by Sunil Palwal. After the long journey through the bitter cold, Kaul finally arrives at their residence, where he meets the fiery mother of the child, played by Sadia Siddiqui. Kaul is in for a major surprise and the events that follow on that fateful night may change his life and beliefs forever.

Barff still - BookMyShow

Written and directed by Shukla, the title barely covers the chills felt throughout the play. From the very beginning, the play drives shivers down your spine with its eerie setting and the actors’ powerful performances. Even though Shukla effortlessly portrayed the sophisticated straight-laced doctor, it was Siddiqui who stole the show. Her raging temper and suspicious demeanor made the cold, gloomy night come alive. Palwal did not disappoint either, but was vastly overshadowed by his co-stars.
With its highly engrossing themes of existentialism and the search for truth, there were not many dull moments in the play. The end causes much introspection and leaves the audience with questions about belief and reality. It’s no wonder that Shukla decided to put the play up in current times, in which ‘intolerance’ is the buzz word. While Barff does not take sides, the politics of the country we live in are subtly manifested in the narrative, which makes it a must-watch for not only the theatre-loving audience, but for each and every citizen. The play goes on for the third time in Mumbai, next month. If you are in the city, do catch the show for an unforgettable, thrilling experience.

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