Office affairs like high school romances can get complicated. When you are in a relationship with a person in such a closed environment, things can get complicated really quickly. Not to mention, your colleagues' involvement in every aspect of your relationship and you definitely cannot use the 'I am at work' excuse to get out of an argument. It is a common knowledge that there are two sides to every story and it is always important to know both sides before you pass judgment. There are rare love stories that explore both the sides of a relationship. Internal Affairs by Akvarious Productions is one of them. You know what both the characters are feeling at every step of their relationship (because they tell you so).
The play starts with Sid (Priyanshu Painyuli) telling us about how he is starting a new job and how he meets Anku (Shikha Talsania) who shows him around the office and asks him to join the colleagues for a party at the nearest pub. He agrees and that's where he meets Riya (Shriya Pilgaonkar) and they both have a little too much to drink which leads them to a one night stand. The next morning Sid doesn't want this to be trapped in this relationship and makes his excuses and leaves. Later in the day, Riya asks him out for drinks so they can discuss it. After that discussion which again led to them sleeping together, they are firmly established in a relationship. Sid's reluctance is pretty evident because he keeps talking to the audience breaking the fourth wall. He tries various methods to make sure that Riya will dump him and one day she approaches him tells him that they need to talk. Sid ecstatic that she will finally dump him is eager to have 'the talk' until she announces that she is pregnant.
While you are watching this, you might be thinking that this is how it's going to be. Sid falling into a situation and then talking to us about it. Every time he goes to sleep, he dreams about Natasha Sood (his first and only love). Natasha Sood is like that rich kid who got her first car in college and for who everything beyond Bandra is a forest. She uses the latest text lingo and is not really that fond of Sid. He also has one friend JJ (Hussain Dalal). As you have settled down to this format, everything changes. The moment Riya tells Sid about her pregnancy, she breaks the fourth wall and talks to her. She also proceeds to take us back in time to the first day of her relationship with Sid and tell us exactly why she was in a relationship with him (because he is not a serial killer, a rapist or a guy from Delhi and also because Anku is condescending). She also has an ex she remembers fondly – Vivek Iyer. Vivek Iyer would remind you SRK in Mohabattein as he wraps a familiar sweater around his neck and talks in riddles and rhymes. We follow her story as closely as we followed Sid's and here you come to know the other side of this 'romance'.
People are multi-dimensional and it was a treat to watch such multi-dimensional characters on stage. There is a stark difference between their thoughts and actions and that is how many of the modern relationships work. Priyanshu and Shriya do an amazing job of switching between their characters as they talk to each other and break the fourth wall and one scene which stands out is the conversation they are having when Sid suggests that they should maybe spend their days separately. But Hussein and Shikha steal the show with their performances. Each plays a variety of roles as Hussein is Sid's friend JJ, his maternal grandfather who thinks Sid is gay and Vivek Iyer. Shikha also plays multiple roles as Anku, Sid's first love Natasha Sood and his mother.
The dialogues are filled with witty one-liners and a lot of meta humor as they address the issue of one actor playing multiple roles a couple of times. The play ends with a cliff hanger making you wonder whether such a relationship can actually last. The play is being performed for over four years. If you want a good laugh along with a glimpse into modern relationships, this one is for you.