Rashomon Blues is a sincere effort by Bijon Mondal to re-tell a great story, that was immortalized on celluloid by Akira Kurosawa. The play is set in modern-day Mumbai and is the desi or Bambaiyya adaptation of the Japanese classic, Rashomon. It’s the story of a sword-fighter and his wife, who are assaulted by a notorious criminal resulting in a rape and a murder.
It’s fascinating to see how a good story can have an appeal across nations, cultures and languages. If you’re someone who is heavily into cinema, but are looking forward to a break from it, then watching Rashomon Blues is sure to be a refreshing experience.
The character of Tojamaru is played to perfection by the very talented Nagesh Bhosle. The credit also goes to Mondal for having contemporarized and sculpted the role of Bhosle in a way that it contains the terror, notoriety and evil of Tojamaru, who remains very Mumbai ka bhai types in his roots, mannerisms and actions.
Kirti Kulhari who has played the role of the dead sword-fighter’s wife, too has done a commendable job. She not only looks charming and graceful, but has also managed to encapsulate the feeble, yet strong and often outrageous character of the wife.
Salone Mehta who plays the role of a playful commoner, and also the mother of the sword-fighter’s wife, has done a fabulous job as a singer, song-writer and actor. She has lived up to all three of the roles assigned to her in the most impactful way. She is not only blessed with a powerful voice, but also a has great stage presence. The music, sound direction and lighting by Rohit Das, Gautam Dhanu and Arhgya Lahiri only add to this well-designed art-piece. The music and lights together are sure to put you in a state of trance and keep you hooked till the end. An afro trance-dance by Ritika Murthy, in the middle of the play, complete with African tribal sounds by Das, is one of the highlights of the play.
The only thing that I didn’t agree to is, the deceased husband playing a sword-fighter. If Mondal, has Mumbai-ized the play to such an extent, he could have very well, made the deceased husband a successful businessman, a sportsman, or someone from an aristocratic family from Mumbai.
However, the overall execution play is such that it is sure to leave a lasting impression on your mind. It successfully shows how life is a lot about perspectives. And in the words of one its characters, "Log vahi dekhte hain, jo voh dekhna chahte hain… aur vahi sunte hain, jo voh sunna chahte hain".
As you watch Rashomon Blues, you’re sure to realize why theatre is such a commanding form of art and especially why theatre actors are a notch-above TV and film actors. The play is produced by Ranga Theatre, and is among the first Hindi productions to be staged in the musical format.
The play was staged at Prithvi Theatre, on November 8, 2013, as a part of the ongoing Prithvi Theatre Festival.