It isn’t often that you watch a play directed and enacted by professionals where the protagonist fumbles not once, not twice but over three times.
Sure, everybody makes mistakes, nobody is perfect. It takes a great deal of courage to act on stage and to have an excellent stage presence. However, the protagonist messing things up not once, but a number of times, is a little hard to digest.
Mitro Marjani (English Title: To Hell With You Mitro) is the story of Sumitravanti, the bold middle daughter-in-law of the Gurudas household. "Her courage is apparent not only in the audacity with which she taunts a closed society, but also in her ability to change her own attitude when she feels it necessary." (The Hindu)
It’s ironic that although the story was supposed to be about Sumitravanti, there was barely any time devoted to establish her character in depth.
Sumitravanti, comes across as a character with a high libido, who openly challenges the norms of society and is willing to move outside her household to seek pleasure, sexual and otherwise.
The prologue of the play was rather deceiving and will let one into believing that the play is about women empowerment. But most of the play comes across as a saas-bahu serial. Ironically, it stars a fairly popular TV serial actor, Satyajit Sharma, who acts in a TV serial called, Baalika Vadhu. He plays the role of Sumitravanti’s father-in-law.
Most of the actors did a good job and played the part assigned to them with proficiency. The play directed by Dinesh Thakur is based on Krishna Sobti’s works. (Sobti is known for her contribution to feminist literature in India.) However, the play doesn’t manage to interest or impress. The execution is rather plain and dare I say, boring.
Despite fumbling over three times, Preea Mathur, who plays the role of Sumitravanti steals the show with her flawed, yet audacious performance.
The play manages to make the audience laugh a couple of times, but that’s about it. On the whole, Mitro Marjaani is a passable fare.