The line between illusion and reality is often blurred, but what if the line is completely erased? Exploring this idea, veteran actor-director, Saurabh Shukla crafted the masterpiece called Barff on stage.
As I set afoot to watch the thriller unfold live before me, I travelled back in my memory lane to the director’s former play, 2 to Tango, 3 to Jive. About two years back, I remember being in giggles and grins while watching Mr.Sethi’s mid-life crisis take an enticing route. What did Barff have in store for me? Well, it offered way more than laughs or chills; it came with a perspective that is the need of the hour.
What is that supposed to mean? Read on…
1. Kashmir and otherwise: In a time when even a conversation about Kashmir is convoluted, Barff reminds us that be it Kashmir or otherwise, it all comes down to perspective. Whether it is the deserted village residents’ belief that they’re not alone or Nafisa’s (Played by Sadiya Siddiqui) over-protective attitude towards her son (doll); perspective can do all the difference. In a heavy-hearted moment, Gulam (played by Sunil Palwal) rightly says, “Kya matlab uss sach ka jo hume jeene na dey?” (What’s the point of that truth that wouldn’t let us live?)
2. Hues and sounds of life: Many see the stage against the screen as a shortcoming, but they often forget that the stage makes one look at things in hues and sounds they wouldn’t otherwise. The blue lights on a engulfed white mounted cloth signify the cold, frozen and barren mountains of Kashmir, the loud cooing of the bird depicts the emptiness of the place that makes every footstep thunderous, the tick-tock clock-like motion sound in Dr.Kaul’s moment of confusion represents just how the human mind is often in a whirlwind when in foreign situations and the beaming yellow lights on denouement personify the makeshift of perspective in Dr.Kaul’s (played by Saurabh Shukla) mind.
3. Reflection of life: The play uses the doll, the title and perhaps even the plot as a metaphor to our ideology of right and wrong. As the play concludes, it makes you realise that there is no such thing as denial, but more like chosen reality, that we decide to live by and with. Dr. Kaul’s character rightly sums it up, “Yakeen karke dekho, sach apne aap ho jayega.” (Try believing, it’ll hold true by its own self)
P.S: In the age of social media, where conformity and validation have become a course of our lives, Barff the play comes with a perspective that is the need of hour. Maybe we all could use that fresh air of perspective in our lives too, until next time, #StayCurious 🙂
The play was hosted by AGP World at NCPA, Mumbai.