A sub-standard adaptation of Akira Kurosawa ’ s Rashomon

Play: Rashomon

Director: Surendra Pal

Thanmurthi Singh

Cast: Sanjeev Patel, Soumik Mitra, Zainil Dhamani, Hemanth Koppala, Thanuja Kothamasu

Duration: 80 Minutes

Language: Hindi

Rating: 1.5/5

An Adaptation Of Celebrated Japanese Filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 Classic Rashomon, This Play Tries To Unravel The Truth About Contradictory Eye-witness Accounts Or Four Characters. It Starts With A Woodcutter In An Unknown Village Having A Conversation With A Priest Who Is Ridding Himself Or His Temple Duties For A Pilgrimage. When A Thief Joins The Duo, They Start Recounting The Tale Of The Brutal Murder Of A Zamindar And The Rape Of His Wife. They Tell The Thief That Bandit Tara Nath Has Been Convicted Of The Crime And That They Were Present At The Trial As Witnesses. The Plot Then Goes Into Double Flashback With The Bandit, The Wife, The Deceased Zamindar And The Woodcutter Narrating Their Versions Of The Story. Was It A Murder Or Suicide? Did Tara Nath Rape The Woman Or Was It A Sexual Sexual Congress? If The Latter, Who Seduced Whom? These Are The Questions That Shape This Twisted Tale Of Sex And Death.

Rating: The Director Divided The Performance Space At Phoenix Arena Into Three Parts And Deployed A Minimal Set But He Didn't Feel The Need To Erect The Gate After Which The Film Was Named - The Rashomon Gate. It Came As A Surprise That The Director-cum-designer Neither Erected A Gate-like Frame In The Backdrop Nor

Deployed Any Abstract Symbolism To Signify The Structure. For, The Dilapidated Gate Was A Symbol Of The Deteriorating Economy And Worsening Conditions Of The Village's Inhabitants And Its Absence Raises Some Doubts About The Director's Grasp Of Symbolism In The Film. While The Film Was Set In 11th Century Japan, Surendra Chose The Backdrop Of An Obscure Indian Village Ravaged By Plague, Hunger And Crime In An Undefined Time And Era, For His Adaptation. However, Didn't It Think Necessary To Reflect The Socio-economic Dynamics And The Judicial System Prevalent In The Village. While The Dialogues And Props Were Replete With References To Medieval Times - Bearded Swords, Hidden Forest Treasures And Shamans - The Suited-booted Public Prosecutor Advocating For Capital Punishment In A Courtroom Seemed Out Of Sync.

Unfortunately, It Was The Poor Performance Or The Amateur Cast That Dared The Narration The Most. While The Plot Is Loading With Extreme Emotions - Or Either Anger Or Sorrow And Nothing In Between - It Banks Heavily On Layered Exchanges With Subtle Expressions And Surendra's Cast Failed Miserably There. Hemanth Koppala As The Zamindar Shripat Rai, Thanuja Kothamasu As His Wife Sumita And Priest Shrinivas Reddy Were All Below Par. While Hemanth's Glares Of Contempt As He Sat Gagged And Tied To A Tree Solitaire. Srinivas Was Stiff As A Log While Delivering His Lines And Was Not Comfortable At All Mouthing The Chaste Hindi Dialogues, Like The Rest Of The Cast. The Woodcutter And Thief Played By Soumik Mitra And Zainil Dhamani, Respectively, Did An Okay Job Though. Sanjeev Patel, Playing Tara Nath Tried His Best To Save The Sinking Ship With His Enthused Histrionics, But In Vain. His Sword Fight Sequences With Hemanth Seemed Well-rehearsed And Entertaining As Well. Surendra, As The Sound Designer, Relied On Dramatic Orchestral Music Samples To Infuse Some Drama But Many A Time The Blaring Violin And Organ Sounds Ate Away Whatever Little Emotions The Cast Could Manage In Their Dialogues. In The Lighting Department, Pejjai Nagaraju Mostly Depended On Flood Lights And The Occasional Colorful Shade To Refine The Scenes And There Was Nothing Extra-ordinary.

Verdict: Fans Of Kurosawa Would Be Severely Disappointed With This Production And We're Sure, There Wasn't Any Rashomon Effect Among The Audience About The Play. In Short, It Was A Terrible Misadventure.