Director Hidaayat Sami’s The Magic Pill is the first staging from writer-director Satyadev Dubey's group Theatre Unit, since Dubey's death last year. The play opens with Dubey’s deep voice resounding from the 1998 recording as he connects the creation of the world from desire to the birth of the protagonist Kameshwar (Romi Jaspal), a magnetic sex maniac with little hope of his seed ever taking root.
The world of The Magic Pill is set in the ancient past when the gods dallied with mortals, a son was the most coveted possession, and one’s reincarnations often issued from a curse. Like the epics, the lines are often tortuously long.
But The Magic Pill shrugs off the weight of the past with wit in a wicked spoof that has the dishy Gandharvasen (Aadar Malik) tossing the last word of each sentence over his shoulder, and sci-fi sounds accompanying celestial guidance. In a hilarious scene, the virginal Basanti (Shruti Vyas) waxes eloquent on procreation, Kameshwar’s lover Anjali (Deeksha Sonalkar) makes a case for single women, and the princess (Rashi Mal) speaks up for the joys of sex, to the dismay of her father, the king (Joy Fernandes).
The men are torn with desire for all the equally smitten damsels in this uproarious farce. The shenanigans across time and space can get bewildering. As if the panting Padma (Sariika Singh), an angry priest (Pramod Pathak), a smouldering wife (Nehha Dwivedi), Kameshwar’s ascetic-aspirant parent (Anjum Sharma) and Anjali’s furious father (Shailesh Hejmady) were not enough, there is also some body-swapping thrown in for good measure. The production has its blips such as Vyas’s rather forced gender change and the awkward seduction that follows. Yes, humanity screws and screws up endlessly, but it’s an entertaining view with such a gleeful cast cavorting in lovely, shimmering period costumes designed by Purva Naresh and Prerna Chawla.
By Saumya Ancheri on July 06 2012 7.14am