In Atul Kumar’s oddball approach to Shakespeare, you will find a style true to India’s musical theatre tradition
If there ever was a Shakespearean play that could be mistaken for a Bollywood blockbuster, it is Twelfth Night. Director Atul Kumar recognised this when he created Piya Behrupia, a Hindi translation of the Bard’s play that ‘Indianises’ while keeping the original’s essence intact. “Identical twins separated in shipwreck, mistaken identities, unrequited love, cross-dressing, high passion, sword fights and happy reunions—doesn’t it sound like what we have grown up with?” asks Kumar, who is bringing the production to the city next weekend, as part of a charity initiative by Round Table 30 and Ladies Circle 100.
After premiering at the Globe Theatre, London, in 2012—where the performance by his Mumbai-based theatre group, The Company Theatre, received standing ovations and won rave reviews—it has since done over 75 shows. “Piya Behrupiya will appeal to people of all ages. It’s Shakespeare, comedy and music all together, and our cast comprises great actors who draw energy from the audience. You will get hooked,” says the director, who has incorporated a number of Hindi dialects in the dialogues to make it more engaging, and insists on adding local names from the city the production is being staged in, to make it more relatable. With plans to take it to Chile, France and China next, Kumar signs off saying, “Come, I assure you the play will be tonnes of fun.”
On September 13, at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Hall. Tickets from `500. Details: eventjini.com.
—Preethi Ann Thomas