It may be ironic when we say this but for decades now Gujarati theatre has made Mumbai their home. Code Mantra, which is the most expensive Gujarati production, is also one of the most notable plays of the industry. The play is over a year old now but the popularity doesn't seem to wane as I saw an almost full theatre on Sunday. The people were dressed in their nines as they took their seats to watch this play based on a true story. Code Mantra is written by Sneha Desai and it is based on a true story mixed with certain references from A Few Good Men.
They are not kidding when they say that it is the most expensive production as you are transported in the middle of the mountains where the men in uniform defend our nation. As these men go about their daily training, we hear the credits in the background in a format that can be only termed as movie-like. Instead of freeze frames, we have the actors on stage freezing.
We see that one of the recruits, Rohit Rathod, cannot keep up with the rest of the regiment – Rajputana Rifles and asks to be transferred to a different one. The Major of the regiment is Indravadhan Rajput, a man who believes that no cost is great when it comes to defending the nation. He refuses the application and instead instructs Lt., Aniket Chauhan to make sure that proper steps are taken so that Rohit too excels like his contemporaries. Rohit is murdered in his barracks and his mother Sumitra Rathod approaches Shagun Oza who is a military lawyer and asks her to make sure that justice is served. Shagun Oza is initially hesitant and only takes up the case when Rohit's mother mentions two words Code Mantra. Thus begins a court case that is sure to shatter your perception of patriotism.
The dialogues are strong and touching as they speak of the importance of orders and the trust that is placed in those who issue them. There is also a team of cadets in training who are supporting the cast as they make up the rest of the regiment.
Sneha Desai also shines as an actor. She plays the role of Shagun Oza who fights for justice in the courtroom. Pratap Sachdev as Major Indravadhan Rajput carries all the poise associated with the man of uniform and his monologues will certainly make your hair stand on its end. The music is by Sachin – Jigar is certainly in tune with the atmosphere on the stage.
There is also a Marathi adaptation of the same play if you are more comfortable in Marathi. This story about walking the fine line between nationalism and fanatism and is truly not something you should miss. Watch this space for more awesome play and event reviews.
Disclaimer: If the dates for this event have expired, it means that there are no upcoming shows for the same. Dates will be updated once new shows are scheduled by the organizer. Keep checking this space for more.