Posted On Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 08:07:21 AM
A man by himself is in bad company,” Eric Hoffer once said. It was this simple philosophy that the students of SP College started contemplating upon three months ago.
The result of this musing — a brilliant one-act play Praani Maatra — based on the importance of having companionship in life, and the subsequent dependence on another being, which ended up bagging the esteemed Purushottam Karandak 2012 on Sunday. Director Kshitish Date describes the premise in a nutshell as ‘the journey of a tiger and a baby deer through the wild’. “The soft, compassionate disposition of the tiger in this play is starkly contradictory to the stories we usually hear about these ‘ferocious beasts’.
Naturally, this character’s past has a major influence on his temperament. He and his brother were abandoned by their mother at a tender age after which they only had each other for company. Later, his brother too, was killed by a hunter, and this is the point when he starts sensing an innate want for support and company,” he elaborates.
Gripping your attention with his storytelling style, Kshitish eagerly adds, “Now the tiger kills a female deer, who is survived by her baby. When he notices the poor, whimpering little deer, who is now left with nobody to nurse and care for him, his past flashes before his mind’s eye and his heart goes out to the baby deer, whom he decides to take along to protect him from other predators.
There after, the two embark upon a journey together.” For a play wherein almost every actor plays a wild animal, the toughest task at hand was to make the story believable for the audiences and these young actors took the idea of ‘getting into the skin of the character’ to a new level.
“We experimented with a number of techniques, in order to interpret the thought process of animals. For instance, we would give a certain situation to each actor, who in turn, would react the way they believed the animal would through improvisation. We even visited the zoo several times to observe the body language and temperaments of animals,” Kshitish informs.
His happiness on Sunday was threefold, for apart from the coveted Karandak, he also walked away with the best director prize, as well as the best actor awards! “Apart from the theme, it was the simplicity and honesty in everybody’s performances that set our play apart.
And of course, the joy of bringing the Purushottam Karandak to our college after 18 long years is unparalleled,” Kshitish grins.