Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Gandhi - the Musical - Review

Play: 'Gandhi - The Musical'
Writer & Director: Danesh Khambata
Cast: Chirag Vohra, Nivedita Bautiyal, Abhishek Krishnan, Nishi Doshi & about 20 others.
Featuring: Voice of Boman Irani

Rating: 8.1 / 10 (See Rating Chart below)

I was fortunate to be invited to the opening night of 'Gandhi - The Musical'. Actor Boman Irani opened the play. Mr. Tushar Gandhi was also present to watch this work of art.
'Gandhi - The Musical' tells the well-known story of Bapu in the most heart-warming way possible. The play starts with a young Mr. Gandhi (played by Abhishek Krishnan) entering South Africa and ends with the tragic assassination of the Mahatma  (older version of Mahatma Gandhi played by Chirag Vohra).
The first half is not only colourful and musical, but also has some rather comical moments. There is a court-room scene which is one of the high-lights of the play. The second-half is emotional and dramatic, but Gandhiji's witty remarks and conversations with the British-Raj (personified by the voice of Boman Irani) provide some comical relief.
Although the play does depict Gandhiji's involvement in the freedom struggle, the more emotional and dramatic scenes are those from his personal life and conversations with family and close friends. 
The music and lyrics are to be applauded and blend well with the style of story-telling. The characters act, sing, dance and several times during the course of the play, do all those while walking around the audience's seating area, giving one the impression that one has actually witnessed the freedom struggle first hand.
The set up and props are elaborate and detailed. The play has a huge cast of over twenty. Abhishek Krishnan's acting is commendable. 
In short, if one wishes to see a Broadway style musical in Mumbai, one should rush to watch this gem. For a musical of this scale, timing is crucial, and the actors, stage hands and all those involved, delivered. No Indian can watch the play without feeling patriotic and proud.
Do watch the same as soon as possible: https://in.bookmyshow.com/plays/gandhi-the-musical/ET00043919

I hope you found this helpful. If you want me to review any other play/movie/event, please say so in the comments below.

Rating Chart:
1.0-2.9: Torture.
3.0-5.5: Waste of time.
5.6-6.9: Decent. But can be skipped.
7.0-7.9: Good. 
8.0-8.6: Great! Don't miss it.
8.7-10:  You can miss the birth of your child for this. This is a greater miracle.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Book Review: The Story of a Suicide by Sriram Ayer

Book title: The Story of a Suicide
Author: Sriram Ayer
Rating: 7.8 / 10 
Intro: I think most of us have, at some point of time in our lives, considered suicide as an option. Suicide is often considered as a last resort, but does that make it the worst option? Are those who commit suicide cowards/quitters? “The Story of a Suicide” written by Sriram Ayer and with illustrations by Ghana, compels you to ponder these very questions. The story revolves around teenagers Hari, Charu, Sam and Mani, and the web of secrets, love, passion, revenge and lies that connects them together.

Review: Before you start wondering whether you should buy the hard copy of this book or the Kindle version, I wish to inform you that the book is in the form of a website, and can be accessed for free. If you aren’t really the type who likes to look at a screen for long, or who likes to read (Yes, I know you people exist!) as an audio book version is also available for free download and can be downloaded from here.
The book is a must read for teenagers and adults alike. The dialogues in the book are realistic and makes one feel that they are back in college and facing problems of bullying, groupism and sexual confusion. I personally found the character of Hari, being a wallflower, to be very relatable. Hari’s parents, the Hegde’s, are completely oblivious to the problems which he is facing, though their heart is in the right place. He is also loved by his elder sister, Anjali. Hari also finds solace in his friend Mani who is constantly under tremendous parental pressure. Their friend Charu who seemingly represents the girl-next-door, is also a strong and loveable person who can be relied on. The tech freak Sam is also portrayed very realistically. Although Sam’s actions seem reprehensible, they are also really relatable as there are born of passion.
The characters have to fight many challenges such as cyber-bullying and expressing homosexuality. While they all struggle with their respective problems, one of the characters considers committing suicide. I don’t want to reveal whether he/she does or does, as I do not want to ruin the fun for the readers. The portion of the book that has the most impact is without a doubt the last few paragraphs.
With its simple yet captivating language “The Story of a Suicide” promises to keep one engaged from start to finish. In conclusion I just want to say that the book should not be read with the aim to pass the time, but with the aim to experience what today’s youth do, and to learn their experiences.

Additional Note: I feel I would be remiss in my duties if I did not offer you all some tips and advice on how to deal with depression, break-ups and suicidal tendencies. The author Sriram Ayer has also given detailed list of Do’s and Don’ts on the website and I have found the same is to be very accurate and useful. In addition to the points contained therein I only wish to stress on having a close confidant (or confidants) with whom you can share any sorrow and who will guide you without judgement. All of us, including the youth of today, feel the necessity to keep our true emotions and thoughts bottled up either because we are ashamed what others will perceive us or because we have no one who we can trust completely. When we don’t have someone like that in our lives we feel like there is a hole in our heart and negative emotions just wait to pounce on that weakened heart and take over. Find someone whom you can trust and then pour your heart out to them. But without mutual trust and understand all that will be left in this world is suffering and sorrow. Don’t be too quick in forsaking yourself.