Manch theatre, or Manchurians as they like to call themselves, made a theatrical attempt to reverberate their voices through an original play Goonj, regarding the apathy that specially abled people face in the society. Written by Ashish and directed by Shashank, the play had all the right intentions at heart and to some extent was able to bring that out that as well.
The play is about a mute girl Sonali, played by Shrishti, who dreams of becoming an actress. The play starts with Sonali expressing her thoughts through a dance and song which culminates into her father, played by Chetan, assuring her that he will do anything to get her an audition. The play then introduces a number of characters who put down Sonali but she powers through and gets an audition only to be turned down by the director himself. But then the actor of the movie Karan, played by Amit, reveals that he too had a speech impediment in the past but he proved his mettle regardless. He convinces the director to give Sonali a chance and she hits it out of the park with her performance to secure the role.
The play does take a unique stance and situation and could have been yet another feather in the cap of Manch, but unfortunately failed on many accounts. The dialogues were too clichéd to begin with. The underdog protagonist, the helpless and poor father, the vamp friend and the saviour rich man; the formula has been used and abused since the 1960s and its time we let it go. Moreover, the play was highly under rehearsed.
The occasional comic relief was the saving grace for the play. The dream sequence by the assistant director, or the hilarious audition of a perpetually sad girl called Mayusi, genuinely brought out laughter from the audience.
Since it was a play where the protagonist was speaking through a voice over to the audience, the tech had to be on its toes, but they weren’t. Lip syncing took a serious beating with monologues either starting before the actor was ready or starting late. In plays like these tech runs are extremely important and that is something the Manchurians can probably look at in the next show.
What was wonderful was Snehasheesh’s original background score and music. It sounded extremely professional and was a pleasant surprise when announced that it was original work. Kudos to him for exceptional work.
Goonj did convey a wonderful message to the audience; one that they will definitely remember the next time they face a similar situation. Even though there were execution flaws, Manchurians of Infosys should just look at it like bug ridden code. It is time for a quality check and come out with a bug free production next time, like they have so many times in the past....