Piya Bahroopiya- Play Review

A wonderful take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The kitsch image of the bard looking down on the performance, with a lotus- was very South Indian film starish. This refreshing spin on Shakespeare had the play in rustic language often, which would be the equivalent of how Shakespeare’s comic characters would have spoken.

Usually I’ve seen Shakespeare as the canon, with actors declaiming long speeches in verse and marvelled at his mastery of language. Here, there was hardly any original Shakespeare. Some lines did rhyme, but the overall effect was much more Bambaiya.

The musical in Hindi was so powerful- much more so than the English ones I watched in London. Ironically, the Globe asked the director to do a Shakespearean play in Hindi- that’s how this play was born.

The sheer variety of musical traditions used- the quawalli and so on- was also a very innovative device. Although some jokes were trite, overall it was a bold effort. A welcome change from tired productions which stick to the traditional way of doing Shakespeare.
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