Play Review: Can I Help You?

Do you remember the last time you visited your ancestral home? And, would you be able to describe the sentimental value, if asked? For some, who are not too attached to their roots, this might be a simple/tricky task. While for others, it would be a topic closest to their heart; they might just fall short of words to describe its worth and the memories that are associated with it.

What if, one day, you find yourself in a sticky situation, and the only way to get out of it is by selling your ancestral home? Would you go ahead and do it? Ramakant Krishna a.k.a. Don, played by Dalip Tahil, faces a similar dilemma. He, instead of being sentimental about it, has become a perfect opportunist, who tries to secure his retirement by selling off his ancestral home.

NCPA's latest production, Can I Help You?, written & directed by Abhishek Pattnaik, is a situational comedy that many will appreciate. It’s not too preachy nor filled with too much of slapstick humor. The premise of the play is simple and it keeps you hooked till the very end. So, if you are new to the theatre scene and are looking for something light to watch, this play could be one of your options.

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The play is divided in two halves. In the first half, you get introduced to Ramakant Krishna, a retired LIC agent who is fondly known as ‘Don’ for selling 101 policies in a year. He is now on a mission to sell his ancestral home, which is located in Darjeeling. For a salesman of his caliber, it must be an easy task to sell a house located at a picturesque location like Darjeeling. But, things are never as simple as they appear to be. Don’s house is situated next to a ‘Suicide Point’, which could be a deal-breaker for many potential buyers. But Don isn't discouraged. He pulls up his socks, instructs his dysfunctional family, which consists of his high-maintenance daughter (Bhavna Pani) and a clingy caretaker (Neel Gagdani), to behave, and sticks to his motto, ‘to deal with one problem at a time’, and takes charge of the situation.

Soon, Don gets a potential buyer, Mr. Ghosh (Anant Mahadevan), who shows some interest in his property. While closing the deal, Rikhav (Darsheel Safary), an arrogant, aspiring cricketer, comes into the picture out of nowhere and jeopardizes everything. Don, instead of losing his cool tries to fix the situation. But does he succeed? Watch the play to find out.

Everything from the concept to the production value of the play is good. The only thing that doesn’t fit well with the play is the random use of accents to portray certain characters, which may seem to be even stereotypical and unnecessary. The length of the play could have also been reduced to make the narration crisp. Apart from that, every actor in the play brings a different, distinct flavor to the story, which balances the whole equation.

So, next time this play comes to your town, you can definitely take your friends and family along to enjoy the show.

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