Play review- F-1/105; Urban Bane

The play ‘ F-1/105’ makes you restless. It throws innumerable questions and issues at you.  These are issues that you have been witnessing for years as a part of INDPENDENT India. The play is presented by Aasakta one of the leading contemporary theatre organisations in Marathi Theatre. The play is written by Ashutosh Potdar and directed by Mohit Takalkar. It is a story about Sagar and Mumu who live in a typical urban locale. They decide to paint and re-do the interiors of their apartment. This simple choice they make creates unwanted controversy and trouble in their lives and that of the painter who they ask to paint their home. The neighbourhood is terribly upset about their choice of colour to paint their home i.e. green.

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The whole play runs on one thread of depicting different connotations of colour. Infact, when the painter visits Mumu and Sagar’s house he is curious as to why they have chosen green colour. In his objection Mumu finds the intent to point out that green colour is seen as a particular community’s preference. He has not even meant that but, since we all are somewhere deep rooted in our prejudices she derives this meaning. This painter is from the north and the play then discusses about our prejudices about North Indian community in the Western and Southern regions of India.

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Further on the whole play pictures the varied prejudices that each Indian has inspite of the fact that we pride on ‘Unity in diversity’. In a huge democracy where various religions, castes and political ideas prevail, each one is bogged down by prejudices. The white collared, educated and the cultured society too aren’t an exception to it.  Are we getting into a scenario where we are moving away from democracy and turning into a country that has lost its identity as a secular country? In reality colours can be used to paint a picture that is aesthetically superior or it can also call to create controversy. The play uses colours to reflect the varied ideas that each section of Indian society holds.

For me the moment I look at green colour it’s more about greenery, nature and freshness. This is what the painter reflects while he shares his perception. But, for many its a colour that represents a particular religion that is why it should not be used by others. Urbanites pride immensely on their secular thoughts. Inspite of the fact that they work in places where the environment is cosmopolitan prejudices don’t spare them and this is true for Mumu and Sagar. The play also mocks on the political divide that we have in our country between two parties; we cannot deny that we are primarily a two party system where one party is supposed to be secular and other non-secular. Look at the basis on which we differ; it is indeed religion.

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We as Indians cannot dissolve these differences. These are the aspects that the play F-1/105 deals with. I liked the part when Mumu and the painter exchange roles, where Mumu acts as the painter and the painter as Mumu. It is about experiencing how the other person feels in that situation (its about empathy). If we could do this before we randomly pass value judgements on others, peace would still prevail and we could pride to be a secular country in the true sense of the term.

Now that Ive said so much about the subject of the play, let me turn to the other aspects of the play. There is no doubt that the play is impactful due to the powerful writing by Ashutosh Potdar. He doesn’t leave any chance to make us restless with questions that remain unanswered. Each actor plays multiple roles and their performances are commendable. To translate the powerful emotions that the words carry through their performance was sure a challenge which came through their performances and thoughtful direction by Mohit Takalkar. Plays by Aasakta are known for detailed set arrangement but, with this play they have cut the grandeur and stuck to the minimal. But, Mohit through his direction has made the audience ignore the fact that it needed a full set.

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Mrinmayee Godbole as ‘Mumu’, depicts the perfect picture of an urban working class woman who is individualistic and rigidly bound by her upbringing and education. Being at the center of the plot, Mrinmayee’s energy stays in the play till the end. Sagar Deshmukh as ‘Sagar’ is effectual. I have seen his performances in other plays and as an actor he has an ability to keep the audience gripped.

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Rajkumar Tangde as ‘painter Don’ adds a dash of the much needed humour in the play, his innocence adds to the humour. Infact, Trupti Khamkar and Rajkumar Tangde steal the show with their performances. Trupti plays various roles like Mumu’s mother, neighbour, and the maid servant. With each role that she plays, she brings humour and lightness to the serious topic. The rest of the team Anand Kshirsagar, Jeevak More, Hrishikesh Pujari, Omprakash Shinde and Alap Vaidya have done their bit to create an impactful play and an impression on our minds that doesn’t fade soon. With an extremely young and energetic team the play comes across with punch and power.

Why should you watch the play? The play made me extremely aware of the deep rooted prejudices I carry and that is why it makes me restless. This is not a play where you watch it and just lightly discuss about it once you leave the hall. It has a greater impact on your mind. So if you are the kind who loves being challenged with some real questions that impact our life you shouldn’t miss it. Go for it!!!

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