The Hindi-Punjabi play is a farce directed by the acclaimed theatre director Atul Kumar. Set in Ludhiana, Punjab, in North India, Baaghi Albele showcases its narrative through a satirical comedy. The play explores the struggle of artists and intellectuals in a time of government repression and reflects on the relevance of art and artists in contemporary times.
It follows the journey of husband and wife actors Johny and Minnie Makhija as they find themselves at the centre of a dangerous situation when a soldier from an underground rebel organisation seeks their help. With the threat of prosecution and death looming, the couple, along with their troupe of actors, must use their wit and theatrical skills to stay one step ahead of the government spy on their trail. The play combines humour and absurdity with a dark reality as the theatre troupe works to flee to England while navigating the challenges posed by a government spy and a corrupt inspector.
While the story is based on the motion picture “To Be or Not to Be” by Ernst Lubitsch and adapted from the dramatic text of the same name by Nick Whitby, much of the play has been re-created and improvised by the play’s actors and writers alike.
The adaptation of the story is by Saurabh Nayyar, with the script by Gagan Dev Riar. The plot is intense, however, the play itself is a full-fledged comedy featuring eccentric characters that propel the story forward, cleverly underscoring the ongoing struggle of artists to navigate societal limitations. The play deftly blends humor with a dramatic undercurrent, offering a witty commentary on the challenges faced by artists since time long past.
Furthermore, Atul Kumar’s exceptional stagecraft and a stellar cast of proficient actors, including Gagan Dev Riar, Ayesha Raza, Taranjit Kaur, Ujjwal Chopra, Saurabh Nayyar, and Harsh Khurana, amongst many others, will bring these hard-hitting implications of the narration spectacularly and comically to life.
A must-watch for every artist, the play will first punch you in the gut, then leave you shedding tears of laughter.
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