Rules of en­gage­ment

A new play star­ring tele­vi­sion star Su­mona Chakravarti takes a hu­mor­ous look at mod­ern-day re­la­tion­ships

Mid Day - - THE GUIDE - SUPRITA MITTER suprita.mitter@mid-day.com

IN TIMES where dat­ing is as sim­ple as swip­ing right, re­la­tion­ships have been a com­mon muse for stand-up comics and twit­terati alike. Now, there’s a play ti­tled The Re­la­tion­ship Agree­ment, which of­fers an in­ter­est­ing take on the sub­ject.

“When your part­ner gives you a set of rules — a list of likes, dis­likes, things they ap­prove, and dis­ap­prove — does it make your re­la­tion­ship bet­ter or worse? The lead cou­ple in the play gets into a re­la­tion­ship agree­ment — a bind­ing doc­u­ment drafted by them, to find the an­swer to this ques­tion,” says Me­herzad Pa­tel, writer and di­rec­tor, and found­ing mem­ber of Silly Point Productions.

The idea came to Pa­tel on a night when in­som­nia struck. “I jot­ted down some point­ers that should make it to an agree­ment for cou­ples. I nar­rated it to my friends at the pro­duc­tion house. They were sold on the idea and asked me to draft a play on the theme,” he adds.

The char­ac­ters bear no names and are ad­dressed sim­ply as Boy and Girl. The aim was to avoid as­so­ci­at­ing a re­li­gion, cul­tural back­ground or eth­nic­ity with them.

The play stars Danesh Irani, Sa­jeel Parakh, Me­her Acharia Dar, Dar­ius Shroff and tele­vi­sion ac­tor Su­mona Chakravarti. “I chose the play be­cause the script is ex­cep­tion­ally well­writ­ten, with a lit­tle of ev­ery­thing — hu­mour, drama, love and anger. I found a slice of my­self in the char­ac­ter I play,” says Chakravarti, last seen as Kapil Sharma’s wife on his talk show.

The Re­la­tion­ship Agree­ment marks Chakravarti’s re­turn to theatre af­ter eight years. “I started my ca­reer with English theatre in Mum­bai. Theatre is a lot more chal­leng­ing be­cause there are no cuts or re­takes. It’s do­ing the same thing for mul­ti­ple shows and be­ing con­sis­tent. I opted for tele­vi­sion back then since theatre doesn’t pay your bills.”

For the male lead, a coin toss on stage de­cides whether Danesh or Sa­jeel will es­say the role that evening. “They are both part­ners at our pro­duc­tion com­pany, and wanted to play the role. Each of them brings a dif­fer­ent sen­si­bil­ity to the char­ac­ter. While Dan­ish has great pres­ence and comic tim­ing, Sa­jeel goes deep into the char­ac­ter. The im­promptu de­ci­sion also helps keep the other ac­tors on their toes,” adds Pa­tel.

Shake­speare cel­e­bra­tions seem to have taken over the city. In an­other ode to the play­wright, The Com­pany Theatre’s Piya Behrupiya, a ver­sion of Shake­speare’s Twelfth Night, is clos­ing in on its 200th per­for­mance this month. Af­ter hav­ing per­formed all over In­dia and across Asia, Aus­tralia, UK, USA, Canada, France, Chile, and Ser­bia, the play di­rected by Atul Ku­mar will be back in Mum­bai, where it pre­miered.

(From left) Danesh Irani, Me­her Acharia Dar, Dar­ius Shroff and Su­mona Chakravarti

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