Play Review – Devika Rani – Rating 4 Stars
What the play is about?
The play outlines the life, struggles and successes of actor Devika Rani, who was considered to be the First Lady of Indian Cinema. The detailed yet well-captured module encapsulates the various men in the actor’s life, the trials she faces and how she emerges a winner (most of the time) of sorts. Was she manipulative? Was she depressed with the various men who came into her life? Did she finally get what she aspired?
The play throws light on the enigmatic persona of the lady who blazed the Indian Cinema scenario.
Veteran actor-director Lillete Dubey surely is an ace at the perfect packaging of a theatre play. This one has various shades to unravelling the fine nuances of the actor. The scenes are well-etched without getting boring. Loved the systematic scene flow, with the right usage of lighting. Lillete has won the battle of keeping the audiences engrossed.
Ira Dubey as Devika Rani holds the fort strong under her able shoulders. From portraying a London lass to being the demure ‘achhut kanya’, the transitions are dramatic. Ira also sings to perfection which wows the audiences. Her poise and demeanour of being a strong woman of substance enhances the potential of the character.
Joy Sengupta as Himanshu Rai sails smoothly with perfect ease.
Rishi Khurana as Niranjan Pal and K.A. Abbas does justice to both the roles. His variations in adding a different touch to both the characters is commendable.
Mark Bennington as Franz Osten and Svetoslav Roerich is a treat to watch.
Pranav Sachdev as Ashok Kumar – Somehow the fine nuances of Dada Moni in the period days show less resemblance to the yesteryear actor with the character.
Kashyap Shangari as Najam-Ul-Hassan shimmers with his charisma and the chemistry between him and Ira is quite strong.
Production values are extravagant with fine detailing met in most cases. The fashion trends of the Era are effectively captured for the men’s wardrobe. However Devika Rani’s wardrobe is very unlike the pictures of the actor we have seen. Ira’s costumes were more in-sync with current Bollywood trends unlike the dressing style of the Era the story is set in.
What could have been better?
The pace slags in some bits and the audience almost felt cringing for some twists that could make the play pacier and entertaining.
#AryemanSaysSo – Devika Rani had a colourful life and encapsulating the important elements into a play is a task. The story-telling does do justice but a bit of tweaking to enhance the play’s pace would make it a watertight masterpiece. Worth once-a-watch for some brilliant performances and a peek into the life of the First Lady Of Cinema.