Daldal: An Online Production by Ada Dramatics

A bigshot was murdered by a gang of five. Being in jail, one of the five must sacrifice their life to save the others, but who? Who is truly loyal? What were their motives behind the crimes they committed: assets or personal reasons?

Daldal—a one-act play performed by Ada Dramatics revolves around the perspective of five people who successfully planned and executed a murder but eventually got themselves behind bars. Given the global situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, this was a unique play shot by the crew members at home and which was later compiled to a half hour play. The play streamed live on the Ada Dramatics Youtube channel. It was uploaded on their Instagram page as well.

Releasing a trailer couple of days before the streaming the drama, Ada Dramatics drew the attention of their audience. The trailer could be considered as a backstory of the play showcased rather than a preview. It showcased the assassination of Mr Tripathi while the play was about what followed.

Scripted in Hindi, the play was thrilling and fascinating as it portrayed various on-going social issues including religious differences, homosexual love, and molestation. Through the story, it is unveiled that every individual has their own intentions behind every action. However, a crime for a crime is not the best method for avenging any loss.

Great heed was paid to the graphic intricacies. the shadows of the bars of the cell were prominently visible on the offenders seated locked in. The background was made simple—jet black with minimal sunlight falling on the actors’ faces.

At the play’s beginning, the five offenders—one woman and four men, were told that if anyone among the five sacrifices his or her life, the remaining four will be free else everyone will be locked up for the longest of time. This causes restlessness among the characters. A quarrel over the survival of life. Punit Dixit who gun-shot the victim Mr Tripathi was initially made the target. As the plot developed, each one of the five—Akanksha Sharma, Asif Rehman, Amar Bedekar, Shikhar Kashyap and Punit Dixit explain their reasons for being a part of this murder. Though Tripathi was a social influencer, there were depraved deeds he had done, and these five folks were directly affected by them. Convincing themselves that his death would retaliate their pain, they proceeded with the planned of murder. At the end of the story, however, their hearts do not feel any lighter. Being in a dark, cold cell haunts them further.

The title of the play—Daldal literally translates to “bog” or “marsh.” It may be apt for the drama as it involves people getting into dirty work by manipulation or choice. The cycle started by Tripathi doing dishonest works and it goes on as the criminals also indulge in the same.

The play was a marvellous experience. It was satisfying to watch the characters eventually sympathise with one another for the bereavements caused by Tripathi. Each role played was impeccable. All the actors were engrossed in their characters and the emotions displayed were realistic. The intensity with which the actors played their part is credible. There was perfect voice modulation for every dialogue. Though it was a one-act play and the actors did not amble around, their hand gestures and body movement were commendable.

The directing team of the drama put forth a wonderful act. All the characters were given equal importance, none was given less or excessive. The script was flawlessly written. Writing a half an hour-long script with only five characters can be tedious but the team put up fantastic efforts. Throwing light on the current social issues in India, the scriptwriters elucidate how these disputes may prevail even thirty years down the road. Keeping the language colloquial and easy to understand, a few English words were used a couple of times.

Considering the videos were shot from home and compiled later, there were a few notable difficulties in the display. Actors couldn’t always maintain eye contact with the speaker, and the line of sight seemed off many times. Moreover, as the play was long and relied solely on dialogues, it was a challenge to stay focused during the entire course of the play. However, some may argue that due to the intriguing twists in the story, it was kept the audience constantly engaged. There wasn’t any background music during the act, but there was a melodious song during the closing credits crawl. On the whole, it was a splendid online production.

Daldal is a definite must-watch play for those who enjoy thriller stories. The play definitely takes the audience on a ride to the atmosphere of those in discomfort and edginess after committing a crime as serious as murder. What happened to them at the end? Do give the play a watch to find out.

—Written by Vaishnavi Karkare for MTTN

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