Pablo Picasso, his paintings and his personal life, have never ceased to intrigue Delhi-based playwright and director Happy Ranajit. “I remember reading about him back when I was a student in NSP, Bikaner. His life, his romances, and his paintings always fascinated me. But it was only in 2000 that I ended up writing Genuine Liars, which is inspired by Picaso’s painting called Bullfight: Death of the Torero (1933) which shows a bullfighter, on top of a horse fighting a bull,” reveals Ranajit.
Genuine Liars revolves around relationships — two old lovers, a prostitute, and their understanding of love and marriage. It is a well-knit play that explores gender issues from a postmodern angle. The play unfolds in the house of a rich man (Rohit Bahl) who is engaged in a conversation with his wife (Rachittri Gupta) who has bought a painting worth `1 crore. Ranajit plays the third character called Zaheer, a jilted lover, who is in an anguished state of mind after divorcing his wife.
He is a regular at a brothel and seeks solace in a young sex worker called Roma, who uses her sexuality to climb the ladder of success in Bollywood. “Though the play has been well-received, there were times when a few were offended as I have showcased the hypocrisy of Indian men,” he admits.
Ranajit will also showcase another play called Love Ka Overdose, a satire inspired by William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “I have changed the storyline a little, and have tried to showcase the obstacles lovers face today in terms of religious obligations and even article 377 but in a comic way. There are four characters in this play called Adam, Eve, Apple and Snake who portray the confusion of lovers,” he explains. Incidentally, the second play is part of his upcoming book, Love in The Time of Rainbow. In fact, Genuine Liars too is a story from Ranajit’s published book called Strangers and Liars.