Friday, December 05, 2014

Trivial Disasters!

S. P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) has always excelled in the field of pedagogic
Innovations by emphasizing on the Knowing-Doing-Being aspects of learning. Assessment and Development of Managerial and Administrative Potential (ADMAP) is one of the programs which focuses on the “Doing” part of the curriculum. The goal of ADMAP is to understand an organization, its structure, its systems and its culture which would finally enable students to value the art and craft of getting things done without having formal authority or influence.

Of the many things ADMAP is known for, it endorses development of soft skills through liberal arts in
the form of book clubs, photography clubs, theatre, poetry readings, dance etc. One such opportunity to
experience fine arts was provided by ADMAP program head, Dr. Uma Narain, to the PGDM batch 2014, SPJIMR, by watching the play Trivial Disasters directed by Atul Kumar, starring, Kalki Koechlin, Richa Chadda, Purab Kohli and Cyrus Sahukar at the legendary theatre, the NCPA, Nariman Point, Mumbai. Getting the opportunity to watch the play with rest of the batch mates was an experience in itself. Also for many of us, it was a first ever theatre experience.  

The play was a satirical portrayal of grave realities of the way we live today. The play was enacted in a series of comic vignettes. Each of the nine scenes was played with aplomb. The introductory scene of intense and intimate dance between Kalki and Purab enthralled the audience with their well synchronized moves which was followed by a struggled and comic proposal of love from Purab to
his beau. The scene of a North Indian Hindi-speaking municipality officer (Cyrus) taking services of an
Elite English –spoken  blind poetess (Kalki) to create a campaign for road safety awareness evoked rib tickling response from the audience. Finally, the scene of a family where the parents (Cyrus and Richa) were supportive to their ‘gay’ son (Purab) and egging him to come out of the closet was hilarious to say the least.
But if anyone thought the play was an outright comedy, then they were mistaken. There were elements of morbidity in the scene between Kalki playing an enthusiastic host to two serial killer brothers Purab and Cyrus, or in the scene between Purab and Cyrus enacting a confession chamber in a church where the Jesuit priest (Cyrus) insists upon extracting a confession out of Purab or the final scene where Kalki stole the show by playing a French salesperson of a suicide assistance store providing prospective customer (Purab) various options for a painful or painless end to life’s misery. The stage design, the music and the lighting deserve notes of appreciation which accentuated the beauty of each mood in the scene. Also, between the scenes, we saw great synchronization between the stage boys who rearranged the set for the next scene in a matter of seconds without seeming to break a sweat. 

After the play, we were provided an exclusive opportunity to catch up with the director and the actors
For a Q&A session. During the interaction, we were floored by their humility and sincerity shown while fielding our questions. We got insights about what went into conceptualizing the initial idea, converting the idea into a script, planning on the style of execution, brainstorming on the choice of casting, intense rehearsing schedule etc. All these details made us realize the remarkable similarities between producing a play and running an organization.

We understood the relevance of using theater as an entertaining and engaging medium and as a form of liberal art to subtly convey the underpinnings of any well-oiled organization. The cherry on the top of the pudding whole experience was the photo-op with the cast. I was lucky enough to shake hands and had a one on one conversation for a brief moment with Purab, Cyrus and the beautiful and infectiously energetic Kalki. They made me forget the pain of missing the opportunity to interact with Gangs of Wasseypur starrer Richa Chadda. Overall, the whole experience was a grand success to say the least.
As they say, the product came out as a phenomenal performance, the place was the iconic NCPA Tata Theatre, the promotion was the star pull of Bollywood actors and the price was subsidized by the institution…”value creation toh bantaa hi hai”.

~ Amartya Bannerjee Information Management PGDM 2014

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