Thursday, June 7, 2018

#DadsGirlfriend #TheatreReview #JohnsonThomas #Hindi #English

Hindi-English Theatre Review Johnson Thomas Play: Dad’s Girlfriend Cast: Satyendra Malik, Suman Vaidya, Anumeha Jain, Karishma Singh Director: Atul Satya Koushik Writer: Atul Satya Koushik, Rating: * * ½ Playtime: 130 mins After a successful opening in Delhi, Atul Satya Koushik’s new play, a sitcom, ‘Dad’s Girlfriend’ opens in Mumbai to decent crowds. Staged by one of Delhi’s leading theatre groups, The Films and Theatre Society, and promoted by Kaushik’s frequent marketing collaborator Coconut Theatre, ‘Dads Girlfriend’ is an urban family drama that hopes to get you cackling with it’s frequent resort to slapstick. Written and directed by Atul Satya Koushik, this play which is daringly different from his largely mythological ( Chakravyuh, Draupadi, Raavan Ki Ramayan) oeuvre hopes to grab the eyeballs of millennia’s facing similar situations on the home-front. The writing though is a little too heavy-duty to be credited as an out and out comedy. There’s neither depth nor satire in the visual connotations here. Picture this- Diya(Karishma Singh), a brilliant and successful architect and Kanav(Satyendra Malik) a down and out theatre actor, a happily married odd couple, get news that her father Mr Vaidya(Suman Vaidya) a successful author, is flying down from the US to spend some family time with his daughter. Kanav, though unhappy about the visit, has resigned himself to the expected insults while Diya, who hasn’t had much to do with her father after her Mom’s death is really looking forward to having him stay with her. The opening sequence is a fantasy one with Kanav dancing with his fantasy woman in gay abandon and then being brought down to earth with Diya’s announcement about her father’s visit. Kanav and Diya are shown to have a playful relationship which comes under great pressure with the presence of the dreaded Father-in Law who is pompous, peculiar and particular about his family’s achievements and therefore looks down on his son-in-law - who I must say takes it all in his stride. Then comes the inevitable fourth wheel- a former student cum fan of Vaidya, Avni( Anumeha Jain), a PYT about Diya’s age, who idolises the author and eventually falls in love with him. That’s when the main conflict occurs. But the treatment and writing here is very much half-hearted. While Koushik’s resistance to melodrama is appreciable, his attempt to curb natural human emotional reactions is not. Diya’s response is not brought out well enough and Avni’s appears to be an after-thought rather than the mainstay here. Vaidya, who apparently has just returned from a long stay in the US is so without spiff and polish that Suman’s turn appears off-colour. Koushik’s attempt to make that deceit obvious by plonking Vaidya in Delhi after having withdrawn from the game of love, doesn’t help the engagement along, either. The final acts deteriorate into sombre unwieldy dramatics which in fact pours cold water on the flush of fun experienced in the middle. Satyendra Malik is the one who enlivens the experience with an obviously overt show of slapstick combined with superbly intonated verbal repartee that help lighten the mood and keep the audience involved. His unbridled energy lifts the otherwise inept acts, lending some comfort to an otherwise sloppy drama. The actors sound better when they talk in Hindi. The attempt to add English phrases in the dialogues subverts the humour - actors enunciations don’t come across as clearly as required. ‘Dad’s Girlfriend’ lacks in subtlety and craft, the Delhi style humour is forced and the performances lack direction. There’s not much fun to be had here!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

#RaavanKiRamayan #EpicTheatreReview #TheatreCriticJohnsonThomas Rating: * * * 1/2

#RaavanKiRamayan #EpicTheatreReview #TheatreCriticJohnsonThomas Rating: * * * 1/2

Coconut Theatre Takes the lead in presenting The Films and Theatre Society's relaunch of it's epic play “Raavan Ki Ramayan” in Mumbai on 5th may 2018. Director Atul Satya Koushik who has also written the script, delineates Raavan's viewpoint regarding the Ramayana.The Director who has always managed to get celebrities from films and TV to act in his plays manages to scoop out once famous cinema villain Punnet Issar from the obscurity of TV, to star in the titular role as the agonised and deeply pained Raavan who believes he has been wronged by Shiva, to whom he has been the most ardent devotee. The production may not have the lush majesty of the super successful #MughalEAzam but the emotive en-treatment cannot be denied. Raavan who most of us saw as the villain of the Ramayana, is the protagonist here.The play is his version of events that transpired and looks at why his eventual defeat at the hands of Lord Ram was inevitable. Puneet Issar who has played Duryodhana, another villain in epic mythology, in B R Chopra's super-successful TV serial Mahabharatha, gets to expose his talent as an actor through a series of hard-hitting, intense dialogues that shed light on Raavan's particular angst. And he is simply majestic here. A virtuous king's dilemma when his sister's Surpanakha's modesty is outraged, his idea of a dignified revenge,his blind faith in his sister's claims that eventually leads to his own downfall, his clash with his sons and ministers who advice him against the disastrous course of action, his conversations with wife Mandodari who chastises him for abducting Sita, keeping her confined in Ashokvan and Shiva's disenchantment with his ultimate devotee are brought out succinctly and powerfully in the sing-song dialogue, (though long winded), which sound like music to the ears. Raavan 's war with himself that pits duties and responsibilities as a king against that of a brother, father, husband and devotee is brought out beautifully by Puneet's majestic performance.Actors playing Surpanakha and Mandodari also strike at your heart with their plaintive cries of anguish over their fate. The idea that beauty is but a parameter laid out by men who wants to control the way women think and behave,brought out by Surpanakha's predicament, is quite profound.The writer links Raavan's inner struggles with that of every-man - the eternal good versus evil fight that we wage within ourselves and it's enlightening to come face to face with our own culpability. It's to the actors credit that they manage to render it with pungent aplomb. While the length of the play could have been trimmed a bit considering it's overly verbose and wearisome at 2 hours and 30 minutes, it still manages to be spell-binding enough to keep you interested. The production may be spare in terms of sets but the costumes are befitting and the lighting makes the visual experience more fulfilling. This is a less ostentatious epic with plenty of heart.

Monday, April 30, 2018

#GolmaalThePlay #Rating * 1/2 #ReviewTheatreCriticJohnsonThomas

#GolmaalThePlay #ReviewByTheatreCriticJohnsonThomas Artists- #VinduDaraSingh, #RajeshPuri, #AkashdeepSabir, #SheebaSabir, #PayalGogaKapoor, #DeepshikhaNagpal, #LuckyHans, #SarthakJoshi Rating: * 1/2 Synopsis- As the very name suggests, a laugh riot, based on mistaken identities, is about an uneducated plumber who hits big time and upgrades his living style , but is unable to overcome his lower middle-class mindset. As a result the better educated servant of the house takes advantage of his unschooled behavior and makes merry in the household, resulting in chaos. The plumber's wife wants to admit her rogue son in an English medium School but the interview that the school teacher has scheduled with the family goes entirely haywire. The inquisitive neighbor adds to the GOLMAAL. Review A poorly scripted and shabbily constructed wannabe comedy drama, 'Golmaal The Play' has nothing much going for it. The acting is ridiculous, the acts are sloppy,Direction is inept, the dialogues lack wit and the slapstick grates on your nerves. Forget the contrived story - This is basically about a bunch of actors desperately trying to keep their so called 'Star' value alive by coming up with public engagements that are extremely boring and hazardous to the audience' mental health. The servant is addressed as Naukar throughout and doesn't appear to have a name, and he is also allowed to run riot in the household -right from insulting the head of the family Mr Sharma to taking liberties with the Mrs without getting reprimanded for it. A Neighbor runs interference every now and then and the teacher conducting the interview wants to be the one to decide who is who in the household. Writing cannot get more clueless than this!

Sunday, June 19, 2016



Mumbai: A first-of-its kind workshop titled ‘Kathak For Him’ is set to storm Mumbai on June 19, Father’s Day and will see grown men dance to the tune of one woman - Kathak guru Aparna Mishra. 

The danseuse, who has trained in the classical dance form for 16 years, has especially designed a 90-minute workshop for men because she wants to bust the myth that Indian classical dance is  predominantly the domain of women. 

Through this unique Kathak workshop for men, Mishra will educate the audience that activity and emotions have nothing to do with gender. “If you want to smile or cry, there is nothing wrong. If you want to blush, go ahead and let the blush come to your cheeks irrespective of your gender,” says Aparna.

While Aparna has been teaching Kathak to both men and women for many years, she now wants men to do away with the taboo they associate in their minds by taking up classical dance. The special workshop will see Aparna employ male specific foot work, bhaav, bol and body posture involving the Fibonacci series (a mathematical pattern prevalent in nature). She has consciously included elements of mathematics and physics because she feels more men easily relate to these subjects. 

The aim of the workshop is to introduce Kathak to people not only as a form of entertainment but as a life-changing experience. This will help break stereotypes about dance and liberate us.

We still practise gender-based inequalities socially and behaviourally. In the fight to prove superiority of one gender over the other, we have forgotten to enjoy the gender differences. “Yes, the make of a man is different from a woman’s and vice-versa. However, does that mean one or the other should be considered strong or weak?” asks Aparna. 

The workshop is an attempt to highlight, discuss and celebrate gender inequalities in terms of strength, weakness, emotions and areas of power through Kathak. “We appreciate equality, so let’s also appreciate, celebrate and not shy away from these inequalities because that is the way nature has made us,” believes Aparna. 

Kathak For Him happens on Sunday, June 19,  2016, 7.30 to 9 PM at Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point, Mumbai. 

About Aparna Mishra
Aparna Mishra began learning Kathak at the age of three under late Pandit Viswanath Mishra, a celebrated guru and her great grand father who hailed from Mithila and followed the ‘parampara’ of the Benaras Gharana. She has also trained under Pandit Sant Lal Jha Sumanand, completing Nritya Bhaskar (Masters) from Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh. Subsequently Aparna continued honing her skills under the guidance of Pandit Birju Maharaj. 
Aparna promotes Kathak under the ‘Guru-Shishya Parampara’. She has studied and researched the Vedic scriptures, shastras and shlokas, ayurveda, yoga and meditation. Their interpretation through dance has added to her teaching and presentations which defines her signature style, Natya Yoga - an engagement of all the five senses through movements, meditation and holistic chanting leading to a spiritual detox and purification.
She has imparted professional Kathak training to more than 3000 students and has successfully conducted mass choreography working with 500 participants on stage at one time. She has choreographed and presented compositions for the NCC and Indian Army. She has received the gold medal on Republic Day 2002, from then Prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for her solo dance presentation. She has also choreographed the video album ‘Policing Plus’ for Delhi Police for all the IAS and IPS officers and was awarded by the Delhi Police Commissioner.

For a detailed account of Aparna Mishra’s work you could visit

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Vindu Dara Singh in Hilarious Comedy play 'Hello Darling!

Vindu Dara Singh in Hilarious Comedy play 'Hello Darling! 

Mumbai. The Hindi hilarious comedy play ‘Hello Darling’ will open on Sunday 8th May 2016 at 7.30 PM at Rang Sharda Auditorium, Bandra(west), Mumbai. The play was first in Punjabi but now it will be premiered for the first time in Hindi at Rang Sharda auditorium. It is produced and directed by Yogesh Sanghvi and the writer is Mir Muneer. The play stars Sheeba, Payal Goga Kapoor, Vibha Bhagat.Manish Arora and Vindu Dara Singh.

Vindu Dara Singh says, "It is a hilarious comedy drama. Husband and Wife must have trust on each other and should not be unfaithful to each other. This is the message given to the audience through this drama in a very comic way."

ENatya Shodh announces the third edition of its online one-act play competition. Take your play to a wider audience.

ENatya Shodh announces the third edition of its online one-act play competition.
Take your play to a wider audience. launched ENatya Shodh three years ago in collaboration with Astitva and the project has proved to be popular.

ENatya Shodh welcomes one-act plays in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and English. The entire process takes place online and the plays are judged by an informed jury. The winning plays are thus announced. This opportunity gives theatre groups and individuals a wider reach and audience. It is one of its kind of theatre competitions and the only online theatre competition today.

We have more than 80 plays available online, and which have been sourced from this project.

You can visit to find out more about this unique e-initiative and to know the rules and regulations to submit your entries.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Delhi’s oldest literary and cultural festival Spring Fever 2016 featuring Penguin Random House’s books from 15 March to 20 March 2016, open from 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily; followed by sessions with highly acclaimed speakers

Sunil Khilnani, Ram Guha, Shilpa Shetty, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shashi Tharoor, Twinkle Khanna, Hussain Haqqani, Emraan Hashmi, Gulzar, Sonali Bendre Behl and much, much more. A line-up like never before…

Penguin Random House
is delighted to bring back to you

Delhi’s oldest literary and cultural festival

Spring Fever 2016
In collaboration with Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

(With an open-air library featuring Penguin Random House’s books from 15 March to 20 March 2016open to allbetween 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily; followed by sessions with highly acclaimed speakers from 7 p.m. onwards, every evening) at the Amphitheatre, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

Spring Fever—Delhi’s oldest literary and cultural festival hosted by Penguin Random House India—celebrates its 8thanniversary this March with an outstanding selection of literary and cultural highlights that reflects the success of its past years. With a lineup of highly respected and popular speakers, Spring Fever 2016 will bring to you plenty more to capture your imagination.
It is a one-of-a-kind celebration of books, reading, music, and much more, and presents a great opportunity for Delhi’s young audience to interact with their favorite authors. It is the first festival of its kind organized by an Indian publisher. We run an open-air library (a browser’s paradise) at the Amphitheatre during the day. In the evenings, the same space is transformed into a hub of literary bustle, featuring key authors, previews of forthcoming and current attractions, panel discussions around interesting and relevant topics, usually followed by music performances.
Our evening events are very popular and attract an involved audience of booklovers. Our sessions in the past have featured well-loved such as Amitav Ghosh, Ruskin Bond, Vikram Seth, Anupam Kher, William Dalrymple, Ravinder Singh, Gurcharan Das, Rama Bijapurkar, Mira Nair and Raghu Rai.

This year Spring Fever will be held from 15th to 20th March. The highlight authors for this year are:

·      Anand Kumar
·      Emraan Hashmi
·      Gulzar
·      Hindol Sengupta
·      Husain Haqqani
·      Luke Coutinho
·      Nawazuddin Siddiqui
·      Neeraj Kumar
·      Payal Gidwani Tiwari
·      Ramachandra Guha
·      Shashi Tharoor
·      Shilpa Shetty Kundra
·      Sonali Bendre Behl
·      Srijan Pal Singh
·      Sunil Khilnani
·      Sunil Sethi
·      Twinkle Khanna

The Schedule: