Anton Chekhov is one of the most celebrated short story writers. He was a medical doctor and his passion was writing. For a man who thought his posthumous career would last less than a decade (six and a half years), it is amazing to see his work performed more than a century after his death. Although his style of writing has been criticised by a lot of people for his abrupt story endings and writing style. Yet, his understanding of human nature is commendable as his stories have the same impact when translated to multiple languages. Chekhov ki Duniya by Ranjit Kapoor is a compilation of six stories of Chekhov and is returning to stage after almost 11 years.
The story starts in Chekhov's study where he is trying to find inspiration for his next story. He starts talking to the audience about his desires and inspiration strikes. He starts talking about 'Cheenk', a story where a lowly employee of the government accidentally sneezes on a higher official while they are watching a play. While the official doesn't care much about it, the lowly employee cannot live with himself and then starts a chain of events which end with him committing suicide. The second tale 'Surgery' is where Chekhov lets people know that you might think it is mean to laugh someone else's pain and you are the one who starts laughing. The tale 'Shikari' is about a playboy and his obsession with only dating married women. 'Besahara Aurat' is another story which will leave you laughing till your stomach hurts. 'Dooba Hua Aadmi' is a perfect example of what people might do to just get entertained. The play ends with 'The Gift' which is Chekhov's own account of his father's gift when he turned 19.
Ranjit Kapoor, who has directed the play, is also the writer of movies like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Lajja, and Halla Bol. Sunil Upadhyay essays the role of Chekhov who is also the link between all the stories. He keeps you entertained and you might think the play is just one conversation you might have had with Anton Chekhov in his study. Khushi Rajput, Kundan Roy, Vipul Deshpande, Kailash Chouhan, Swati Singh, Rajveer Singh Rajpoot, Ravi Namdev and Priyashanker Ghosh play various characters in the play and they do a fantastic job. Kailash Chouhan is probably someone who would stay with you long after the play is over. He plays a senior in distress in a couple of stories and he does it the best as he makes you laugh throughout. The highlight of the play is when after Besahara Aurat, you see him break dancing his way out of the stage. Although the language of the play is Hindi, they have not changed the names or the dresses of the characters to match the language which is a delight.
If you like Anton Chekhov's stories, this play is the perfect example of how his translated works still hold the same power. Make sure you catch it the next time it is being staged near you.