All too REAL! - Critics Speak
60 mins, 2004
It was "All Too Real", comments Shani of Arangham's recent production in New Delhi
"All too Real" presented as dance theatre at the recently concluded Katha Utsav mega-literary
event in New Delhi's India International Centre was a lively interpretation of a wonderfully incisive
short story written originally in Hindi (KAUN THAGWA?) by Kashinath Singh and translated into
English by Pamposh Kumar as WHO IS THE THUG LOOTING THE CITY?, published in Katha's latest
offering of translations.
What was truly engaging in Arangham's transcreation of a short story for stage presentation were
the twin streams that intertwined seamlessly. The edited narrative delivered as a regular story
reading was punctuated by the visual enactment of the tale that also included intelligent
articulation via choreography and body movement and use of the voice-chorus. Splicing the text
with humour - both dark and bright, and through the stage mechanics of metaphor and similie and
hard hiting irony, the performers boomed their own lament over rampant globalisation and
corruption which are the themes that are most engaging in the original short story.
The use of the common bhajan "Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram?" as a refrain for the current state of
Ram Rajya (India today?!) and the recreation of facile images of Rama imprisoned by galloping
market forces, were charming stage devices, and the performance drew several rounds of
spontaneous applause and peals of laughter as the chock-a-block-full house recognized the
maddening contemporary ironies of the script.
All in all a marvelous performance, and another radiant feather in Arangham's already