"Patte Khul Gaye" - A Theatre Play with Comic Reflection on Hypocritical and Judgmental Nature of our Society

Yesterday, after a long hiatus, TravellingCamera headed out to watch a play. This one was titled "Patte Khul Gaye", produced by Felicity Theatre Group, written and directed by Mr. Rakesh Bedi. It was a foggy winter morning, and we had plans to visit Wildlife photography exhibition by Mr. Akash Das, so we had to get out of the house early-ish. And believe me, it was quite an effort to get out of the quilts and head out on a Saturday morning, when we could as easily have slept the day off.

Yesterday, after a long hiatus, TravellingCamera headed out to watch a play. This one was titled "Patte Khul Gaye", produced by Felicity Theatre Group, written and directed by Mr. Rakesh Bedi. It was a foggy winter morning, and we had plans to visit Wildlife photography exhibition by Mr. Akash Das, so we had to get out of the house early-ish. And believe me, it was quite an effort to get out of the quilts and head out on a Saturday morning, when we could as easily have slept the day off. 
Considering that the play had veteran actor, comedian, writer, and director, Mr Rakesh Bedi behind it, our expectations from the play were really high. And then we found out that the play also boasted a star-studded cast. While Mr Rakesh Bedi himself was playing a part in the play, other members of the cast included Rupali Ganguly, Anant Mahadevan, Kishwar Merchant, and Avijit Dutt, among other really talented actors. 


The difference between a movie and a play becomes apparent as soon as you watch one play. And when it is a play that has 4 shows per day, you come to appreciate the difference even more. In a movie, you get many takes to do a scene, and then once recorded, the actors do not need to be out for every show, performing at the same level every time. This play had eight shows over this weekend, with the same star cast performing on the same decibel. And in between the shows, Mr Rakesh Bedi also took out time to meet the audience. They barely had half an hour break between the shows, so absolutely no time to rest.

The difference between a movie and a play becomes apparent as soon as you watch one play. And when it is a play that has 4 shows per day, you come to appreciate the difference even more. In a movie, you get many takes to do a scene, and then once recorded, the actors do not need to be out for every show, performing at the same level every time. This play had eight shows over this weekend, with the same star cast performing on the same decibel. And in between the shows, Mr Rakesh Bedi also took out time to meet the audience. They barely had half an hour break between the shows, so absolutely no time to rest. 

We reached the venue early and took our seats immediately after the matinee show had ended. The show was being held in Kamani Auditorium and the tickets started from Rs 300 per person. For seats with a good view, however, you had to shell out at least Rs. 1000 per person. These were the tickets that we had bought. 

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Before I finally go into the details of the play, let me also talk a bit about the Felicity Theatre Group. This is a theatre group founded by Mr Rahul Bhuchar and the theatre group also runs theatre classes. They give opportunities to their students to perform alongside celebrity theatre actors during their plays. They are coming up with some good plays in February and March, so keep watching book my show if you are interested in theatre. 

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Coming back to their play "Patte Khul Gaye", the play started with a family of four (parents with two teenage kids) preparing for a dinner party in the planned for the evening. And a few things became apparent right from the first scene onward - Rupali Ganguly is in her Monisha avatar and as capable of bringing her to life on stage as she was on television, there were going to be quite a few laughs during the play, and that Anant Mahadevan will probably be under-utilized. 

The role of Dr Manoj Rai is one-dimensional that the one moment towards the end when he makes fun of his friend (which he delivers flawlessly) seems quite out-of-character for his character. It ends of looking more like an anomaly than a natural progression for his character, as opposed to Rupali Ganguly's outburst towards the end when she takes on the upper-class lady Shirin and debates with her about her perceptions of middle-class. That outburst is a deviation from her otherwise sarcastic character, but still appears natural. Her characters is passionate and this passionate debate does not seem implausible in that light. The deviation in Anant Mahadevan's character on the other hand seems implausible. 

The theme of the play revolves around the skeletons we all keep hidden in our cupboards, until that unforeseen moment, the turning point, when they come tumbling out. The script is quite brilliant in bringing about that turning point. I will not reveal more, but I feel that the script handled this very well. 

Another aspect that the script handled with nuance (and really, one expects nothing less from Mr Bedi) was balancing out heavy moments with comic relief. His own character, the shayar "Akela", is the comic backbone of this play. And he brings it to life with perfection. 


I do have two peeves with the script. First, at many places it relies on cliched bucketing of society, that of men and women and the cliched perception of their roles in the society, for laughter. As a result, you hear dialogs like "Tum auraton ko...." many times. And all women characters, including the once-a-successful-model Shirin, are housewives and attend Kitty Parties. They are also portrayed as jealous, gossipy, and shopaholics. On the other hand all men are out having extramarital affairs, being henpecked at home, and earning bread and butter for family. And this is portrayed as a typical middle class home. In doing this, it just adds to the constant patriarchal narrative we desperately need to break out of.  The token reference to homosexuality and section 377 too are more in the vein of "Dostana" than "Kapoor and Sons". That said, the fact that the person who is exposed to be homosexual remains unapologetic or unashamed about it was refreshing. Second, the narrative about hypocrisy in the middle class of our society sounds imposed. It can be simplified to just "hypocrisy in Indian society".

I do have two peeves with the script. First, at many places it relies on cliched bucketing of society, that of men and women and the cliched perception of their roles in the society, for laughter. As a result, you hear dialogs like "Tum auraton ko...." many times. And all women characters, including the once-a-successful-model Shirin, are housewives and attend Kitty Parties. They are also portrayed as jealous, gossipy, and shopaholics. On the other hand all men are out having extramarital affairs, being henpecked at home, and earning bread and butter for family. And this is portrayed as a typical middle class home. In doing this, it just adds to the constant patriarchal narrative we desperately need to break out of.  The token reference to homosexuality and section 377 too are more in the vein of "Dostana" than "Kapoor and Sons". That said, the fact that the person who is exposed to be homosexual remains unapologetic or unashamed about it was refreshing. Second, the narrative about hypocrisy in the middle class of our society sounds imposed. It can be simplified to just "hypocrisy in Indian society".

I do have two peeves with the script. First, at many places it relies on cliched bucketing of society, that of men and women and the cliched perception of their roles in the society, for laughter. As a result, you hear dialogs like "Tum auraton ko...." many times. And all women characters, including the once-a-successful-model Shirin, are housewives and attend Kitty Parties. They are also portrayed as jealous, gossipy, and shopaholics. On the other hand all men are out having extramarital affairs, being henpecked at home, and earning bread and butter for family. And this is portrayed as a typical middle class home. In doing this, it just adds to the constant patriarchal narrative we desperately need to break out of.  The token reference to homosexuality and section 377 too are more in the vein of "Dostana" than "Kapoor and Sons". That said, the fact that the person who is exposed to be homosexual remains unapologetic or unashamed about it was refreshing. Second, the narrative about hypocrisy in the middle class of our society sounds imposed. It can be simplified to just "hypocrisy in Indian society". 

Overall the play is funny, tight, and focused, and we would definitely recommend it in case you are looking for a good way to spend your evening. Performance-wise, all actors do full justice to their characters, including the student actors and the actors for whom, this is their debut play. Especially keeping in mind the back-to-back shows on consecutive days.

Overall the play is funny, tight, and focused, and we would definitely recommend it in case you are looking for a good way to spend your evening. Performance-wise, all actors do full justice to their characters, including the student actors and the actors for whom, this is their debut play. Especially keeping in mind the back-to-back shows on consecutive days.

Overall the play is funny, tight, and focused, and we would definitely recommend it in case you are looking for a good way to spend your evening. Performance-wise, all actors do full justice to their characters, including the student actors and the actors for whom, this is their debut play. Especially keeping in mind the back-to-back shows on consecutive days.  

Overall the play is funny, tight, and focused, and we would definitely recommend it in case you are looking for a good way to spend your evening. Performance-wise, all actors do full justice to their characters, including the student actors and the actors for whom, this is their debut play. Especially keeping in mind the back-to-back shows on consecutive days.

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