A play about marriages and infidelity, could easily be preachy. It is rather refreshing to come across one that does not intend to be didactic nor find the need to reveal secrets to a successful marriage. The Scent of a Man produced and directed by Ashvin Gidwani is a fine example.
Set in present day Mumbai, this play revolves around two married couples – Nikhil (Ashwin Mushran), an advertising executive and his wife Mallika (Suchitra Pillai), a marriage counsellor, and Ananya (Bhavna Pani), a Tupperware salesperson and her husband, Partho (Deven Khote), a professor at the University. One night, the four meet at a dinner party only to realize that they have been involved in a love quadrilateral of sorts.
This adult comedy on lies, lust and infidelity is flavored with a bountiful dose of sharp wit and sarcasm. It opens with a familiar premise – the husband (Mushran) is late and the wife (Pillai) is furious. To add to this, a Tupperware lady (Pani) shows up only to secure a forced cup of tea and eventually an invite to dinner.
The Scent of a Man, does not offer any exceptional situations or issues. Most couples actually have to face them on a daily basis. This does not, however, make the play boring even for a second. The dialogues are well-thought-out, funny, clever and sometimes even bold.
Given that the story is set in the house of a well-to-do couple, the look of the set deserves a mention. It convinces you into believing you're in a posh apartment, which is quite an achievement.
The characters are intelligently written and the actors look and play their parts with perfection. It is hard to pick one over the other. Whether it is Ashwin Mushran as the charming married man, Suchitra Pillai as the nagging and suspicious wife, Bhavna Pani as the naive woman with an overbearing husband or Deven Khote as the khadi-clad, Mr. know-it-all. Each one is a star in his or her own right.
The Scent of a Man portrays marital woes in a light-hearted manner and does not aim at showing you right from wrong. It will have you in splits from the very beginning and it won't be long before you recognize the situations that may have appeared in your own life. The next time it is staged, do not miss it!
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