On a rainy Sunday in August, audiences packed in to the hall to watch Taramandal, a reimagining of Ray’s story. Minimalist, multi-functional sets and a few strong performances string the back stories of all the characters involved in Patol Babu’s single-word final performance. Sometimes, though the silences/pauses were longer than required, the focussed performances of Patol Babu and Naresh made up for it. Neel Chaudhuri is the Pedro Almodavar of Indian theatre, juggling multiple narratives with ease. The play tells us that even the most unlikely people are actors: the background artiste, the man who coordinates background artistes, the actor who has one word in a film, the Beatles fan who can’t sing, and the neighbourhood girl who spins skits out of hearsay. Taramandal shines the spotlight on actors spurned by the conventional spotlight.
Note: This review appeared in the Hindu MetroPlus August 10, 2010. Taramandal was one of the plays staged at the Hindu MetroPlus TheatreFest 2010. Taramandal written by Neel Chaudhuri won the Hindu MetroPlus Playwright Award 2010. The play was brought to us by the talented Tadpole Repetory, Delhi.