Rajneesh Gupta’s ‘Chhote Log’ focuses on mentally challenged children

A scene from the play ‘Chhote Log’. -Excelsior/Rakesh
A scene from the play ‘Chhote Log’. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Lalit Gupta
JAMMU, Jan 8: Rajneesh Gupta’s Hindi play ‘Chhote Log’ staged in the ongoing annual drama festival at Abhinav Theatre, here today, came out as a tragic tale of a brother and his mentally challenged sister that draws attention to the challenges faced by families with such unfortunate situations.
Performed under the banner of Jackson Cultural Society, and directed by Sapna Soni, who also played the lead role of Malti, the mentally challenged girl, the play’s revolves around Suresh and his younger sister, Malti, who as a child lost her mental balance after witnessing father’s murder of mother and her paramour.
Suresh’s  beloved Indu refuses to marry him as she doesn’t want to be burdened with the responsibility of a mentally challenged sister-in-law. After Malit’s innocent overtures reflecting her natural physical needs and the discovery that she is being sexually exploited by Kukki, a young man suffering from Spastic Paraplegia, Suresh admits Malti in a mental asylum. But moved by his sense of duty and love, Suresh brings Malti back home. Kukki again starts exploiting Malti. Suresh in a fit of rage strangulates Malti. But unable to bear the shock of murdering his sister, he turns mad.
Today performance, despite Sapna Soni’s successful portrayal of a mentally deranged girl though innocent accent, body movements, gestures and idiosyncrasies, Abhay Rajput moving depiction of agonies of a sacrificing brother and Shammi Dhamir’s impressive characterization of  Kukki-lacked the intensity and impact as compared to play’s earlier production, held some eight months ago.
The set design and the props successfully created the ambiance of a household. But background music, other than the ‘alaap’ when Suresh in getting ready to go to his office, due to the choice of popular lyrics, instead of adding emotional expressiveness to scenes rendered them as ‘filmy’. Other actors were Poonam Sharma as Indu and Arun Gandotra as Shekhar.
On Jan 9, Vijay Tendulkar’s Khamosh Adalat Jari Hai, under the direction of Vijay Goswami, will be staged by Pancham.


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