As a child it might have seemed as though the torment of being bossed around by “danger” mothers and strict “sirs” would never end. The only thing getting us by was a passion for something that came naturally, kite flying perhaps… and that one person who fed our passion and ego. Someone, much like the character of Mumtaz Bhai Patangwale, a hero, friend, someone we wanted to be like when we grew up.

But like many illusions we built as children, this one passed too, and we found that there are no heroes – just reality masked by fantasy.

Meet Vivek. A man with a childhood he masks with laughter erupted from SMS jokes and a beautiful wife, whom he adores but can’t let in on his past. But when his old friend, Anand calls him up and requests him to visit the little rural town he grew up in to meet Mumtaz Bhai, his childhood hero, who is now very ill, he dashes off immediately. On his journey there he walks down memory lane, recounting the events that led to the exodus of his innocence and his desire to escape. We get to meet him as a young lad, called ‘Viki’ back then, who burns down Mumtaz Bhai’s kite shop in a fit of anger and disappointment when he finds out that the hero he admired so much was mortal, with a wife and child.

The play has a very haunting story, but the plot, at 1hr 25mins, doesn’t spend enough time trying to explain why the young Viki was so flabbergasted at the sight of Mumtaz Bhai’s family. But it must be said that his emotions and confusion in dealing with his disappointment and his subsequent guilt at burning down the shop, are portrayed brilliantly through sound, light, believable characters and really good acting.

aRANYA has done a very good job at portraying the concept of ghosts from the past. They take you on a journey that’ll make you laugh, cry and discuss possible alternate endings for hours after the play is over. The only thing is – you know, the play wouldn’t be as pleasurable had Vikram, as flawed as you and me, achieved atonement.

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