It's close to midnight. The air is still and the night is quiet all around. And
suddenly there's a piercing scream, so sudden that you jump perceptibly, and so
loud that your hands fly to shut your ears. Your heart is thumping within, and
sweat is trickling down your forehead.
No, not Sangeet or Anand, and no Dolby DTS here either. What some big budget films
are not able to do in that ambience and with those effects, a play in Sundarayya
Vignana Kendram could. Shouldn't that then say a lot about the quality of this
drama? Well, Aarop is a socio-suspense tale, and has other things to it, too,
and its success is only partial - a good beginning leads to a rather pedestrian
second half, taking away from the overall impact.
Aarop is about the relationship between Rahul, a sculptor, and Maushami, his lover-turned-wife, and the influence of Raj Dutt, Maushami's guardian, in their life. Rahul is a paranoiacally suspicious husband whose emotions change faster than the color of a chameleon, and is constantly harassing Maushami over her relationship with Raj Dutt. And Maushami keeps trying to reason with him that Dutt was the person who took care of her when she turned an orphan, and gave her all that she needed in life.
The story takes a twist when Dutt is murdered. Now Rahul starts accusing Maushami of having had an affair with Dutt and murdering him due to fear of its being found out. Accusations fly thick and fast over the identity of the murderer, and in the process Maushami confesses her illegitimate relation with Dutt to Rahul. But when the police arrest an innocent person, the conscience in Rahul wakes up and he confesses that it was in fact he who murdered Dutt, and that it was because he had come to know that Dutt was forcing Maushami into the affair.
For a play, this one by Rangdhara is quite good, barring the one flaw of the story becoming predictable in the second half, a big letdown in a suspense drama. Performance-wise, the play is superb - the dictions are crystal clear, and Vinay and Avantika are quite professional (though Avantika would do well to work upon her voice - it cracks with strain). The simple settings serve their purpose quite well, and the music is pretty okay, too.
After the countless number of mindless and senseless movies in these times, good drama comes as a relief. Let's hope that more such quality work will be on its way to soothe the jangled nerves.
Cast: Vinay Verma, Avantika
Story (Marathi): Suresh Khare
Translation: Ananth Kulkarni
Direction: Bhasker Shewalker