August1, 2010 (CalcuttaTube): Aami Weds Aami is a Bengali drama directed by Sohan Bandopadhyay. An irregular concept, an uncommon presentation, a synchronized effort, read Aami Weds Aami’s review at Calcutta Tube.
What do you expect when you are about to watch a drama titled “Aami Weds Aami” that translated in English means “I wed myself”? Certainly you expect this will be another of the numerous comedies with some abnormal concept just to pass the one and half an hour after the oppressing tension of the week. The point is you are correct in guessing that the concept is irregular, the show comic and it is surely a peaceful relief from the heat of the outside world but what you won’t suppose is some superb acting, an ingenious presentation, the perfect lighting and a wonderfully synchronized team effort. Yes, “Aami weds Aami”, inaugurated in the late 2009 by Nata Ranga offers an opportunity to explore the Bengali stage acting in its most unique form and far from being a regular drama, this will be remembered by the audience who don’t have a chance to regret once they have watched it.
Adapted from Charlie Fish‘s, “The Man Who Married Himself“, the tale narrates the life of a man, who decided to get married to himself. Yes, youv’e read it correctly, the idea that he cherished, could not be refuted by the Reverend of the local Church as the Bible seemed never to consider this as an option! Evidently, a concern to his mother, but with a history of crazy ancestors, she seemed to consider this as an obvious doom and after a slight attempt to persuade otherwise ultimately gave in to the idea of her child. His friends, on the other hand, seemed not only to enjoy the show but in fact crafted a nifty dress for the occasion – a fusion of the bride’s gown and the groom’s suit!
Thus attired and literally two persons in the same soul, the man or rather both the husband and wife was married off and they started spending their days in a house separated from the mother for whom it had been too much an effort to go with this exceptional daughter-in-law.
As the conjugal period progressed and the media came to know about it, they tried to cash in on the situation. But this not only profited him with lumps of payment against interviews but also in the persuasion of the general media, he was tested by psychologists and psychiatrists and nobody could certify him barmy. Thus life seemed to go on smoothly with the man who had undoubtedly found the best of companions, whom he could not only trust but could share his darkest secrets without the fear of being joked at and above all, could argue and win during disagreements.
But Nature seemed to tolerate this impudence no longer and engaged two of her surest minions – Desire and the eternal longing for passing on the genes to the next generation. Needless to say, both succeeded and again the same Reverend came to the rescue. He advised the man that in order to get a divorce he needed to have an illicit relationship with a lady and then only can his separation be successful. He further counseled that the man must find the lady who will be willing to marry him after the divorce and will parent the child that he so long craves for. Thus began the search for such a woman and soon he found one, Labanga, a three time divorcee, who surprisingly seemed to like him. But again complication arose as a lawyer made them wise of the fact that the case would fail to win the much needed divorce as it missed the vital point in the definition of illegitimate affair as the spouse, being the same person, is always in full consciousness of the doings of the partner.
Though the play ends with a comic sequence but it culminates is the search for the answer to the question that is much sought after – is marriage all about self security or is it more about caring and sharing and union of hearts brave enough to carry on the splendor of life amid the daily disturbances which may require compromise in the part of the partners and a philanthropic view of life.
The entire show was fashioned as a play within a play where the narrator turned to actor and camouflaged actors in the audience supported the entire show with impeccably timed prompts making this unusual storyline an elite presentation as well.
The lion’s share of the credit goes to Sohan Bandyopadhyay for his brilliant portraiture of the protagonist with the multiple personality and his superb presentation of the conversation of the man and the wife deserves more than an ordinary applause. Shri Bandyopadhyay should also be congratulated for the concept, costume design and direction that was supported in no less measure by the entire crew of Nata Ranga. The stage design and ambience that he so perfectly designed was implemented equally well by Bilu Dutta, Maitrayee Bandyopadhyay and Sandip Dey.
Rabi Ghosh‘s make-up complimented well with one of the most ingeniously arranged lights that harmonized correctly throughout the entire performance, kudos to Sudip Sanyal.
Nilava as the secretary of the stricken drama company and also playing the part of the Reverend was well chosen for both the roles as was as Labanga. UmaSambuddha Bannerjee’s voiceover for the distressed assistant to director Anirban deserves special mention for their accurate timings as do Debjit Nag and Kallol Dey in their roles of the critical audience.
Debanjan Basu’s characterisation of Christ in His worldly form was both fascinating and clever and Mamata and Shrabanti‘s performances as the clock and the tree were both smart and succint.
In other roles, Sudhamoy Palit (hall worker), Mousumi (mother), Sandip Dutta (Hawker), Sandip Dey (lawyer), Sanjib (David), Ayanangshu Chattopadhyay (Ismail), Ananya (heroin), Srishti (bride), Niloy (Johny), Sudeshna (Maria) and Maitrayee (singer) not only supported well enough but with their appropriate and orchestrated singing and choreographs (by Shoven) in between each act, wiped off the chance of a single dull moment.