Rajneesh Gupta’s ‘Chote Log’ focuses on mentally challenged

A scene from the play ‘Chote Log’ staged at Abhinav Theatre.
A scene from the play ‘Chote Log’ staged at Abhinav Theatre.

Lalit Gupta
JAMMU, Apr 26: Rajneesh Gupta’s Hindi play ‘Chote Log’ which was staged at Abhinav Theatre, here today, came out as a thought provoking insight into the agony faced by a brother with a mentally challenged sister in the house.
Performed under the banner of Jackson Cultural Society, and directed by Sapna Soni, who also played the lead role of mad girl Malti, the plot of the play revolves around Suresh and his younger sister, Malti, who has lost her mental balance as a child after watching her mother killing her sick father with the help of her paramour.
Suresh’s dedication to her sister proves to be a stumbling block in his marriage. Suresh’s beloved Indu unable to digest the idea of sharing her married life with a mad sister-in-law also deserts him.
Shocked by the discovery that Malti is being exploited by Kukki, a paraplegic young man, and also Malti’s innocent overtures reflecting her natural physical needs, Suresh admits her in the mental asylum.
When out of his filial love, Suresh brings her back home. Kukki again arouses the desire in Malti through a nude photograph. Infuriated, Suresh strangles Malti.  The shock of having killed her sister turns Suresh mad. Thus the play ends in a tragedy.
Sapna Soni, who maintained the innocent accent and the gestures all through the play and succeeded in creating a character complete with idiosyncrasies of a mentally deranged person, won accolades for her impressive performance.
Abhay Rajput as Suresh ably portrayed agony and tragedy of the sacrificing brother. Shammi Dhamir as Kukki, the paraplegic was imppressive, especially in lustful overtures to the gullible Malti. Kusum Tickoo also left her mark as Indu. Arun Gandotra acted as Shekhar.
The background score and light design again came out as an important adjunct to the production that came high on the emotional import of most of the scenes.
On 28th April, Ariel Dorfman’s ‘Widows’ translated in Hindi by Rajeshwar Singh, and directed by Ifra Kak will be staged as the last play of  Unison Repertory Theatre Festival.

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