Aaina Dramatics: Spotlight 2023
The highly anticipated flagship event of the Aaina Dramatics Club, “Spotlight -2023” took place on 10th February, 2022 at the Library Auditorium, MIT.
It consisted of 6 plays: 3 English and 3 Hindi, performed by first year members of the club. The event was judged by the honourable judges Dr. Sudhamshu Bhushan Raju – Assistant Professor (Sr Scale) Department of Humanities and Management, Dr. Swapna K S – Assistant Professor (Sr Scale) Department of Humanities and Management, Mrs. Shilpa Suresh – Assistant Professor Mechatronics and FA of Aaina and Special guest: Associate Director Student Welfare: Dr. Poornima P Kundapur. Md Atyab Bin Jawaid and Arkojyoti Bhattacharya donned the hats for the Masters of Ceremony and kept things interesting and light with relatable anecdotal skits during the gaps between plays.
A hush fell upon the bustling audience as everyone awaited the event with baited breath. Backstage, everyone started with a war cry which was sure to get the adrenaline coursing through their veins, following which crystal clear instructions were given to each and every member to get into character. The camaraderie and passion resonated from every corner. Upon conversation with a few performers, it was found that almost 10 days of hard work, toil and preparation came down to this.
The curtains were lifted with the advent of the first play – Saste Jahaaz ke Sapne, a play that had the audience laughing hysterically as a bickering husband and wife talked about a new invention from Latvia: a plane that was efficient, lightweight and cheap. The husband proceeded to have pipe dreams about flying around in his aircraft with his wife and showing it off to his peers.
The second play – The Refund, was a hilarious play set in Germany about a suave but unintelligent student who returned to his alma mater after 18 years, asking for a refund of his tuition fees as he was unemployed and believed that he didn’t get the return of investment on the money he gave to the school. He proceeded to ask for a re-examination to prove that he had learnt nothing. The Maths teacher came up with a cunning scheme to outsmart the student; by telling him he had the correct answer even when it was blatantly obvious that he was wrong. The play ended with the Maths teacher outsmarting the student once again, as a result of which he was denied a refund due to him passing with distinction in his re-examination.
The Third Play – Darwaaza, was a play which narrated the story of a broken home through the very unique perspective of an old, aging door. It depicted the story of a girl who was struggling in college and a mother who had the right intentions but failed to execute them in the correct way. This led to unnecessary altercations between them and pulled them apart even more. The door narrated the story of simpler times, when Rumi’s dad was still alive and the house felt like a home. The next scene took the audience to the future, Rumi’s mom was asking her about the finances on the new car she had purchased. They proceeded to talk about how Rumi struggled in college and how everything worked out in the end. The narrator who was concealed behind a prop wall the entire time revealed himself at the end with a beautiful monologue; an ode to the sacrifices parents make and how there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The Fourth Play – Reed ki Haddi. This was a play commenting on and criticizing dowry and the regressive mindset still possessed by many people in India about girls being a burden to the family until they are married off and passed to another family. The play talked about a big shot, supposedly “liberal and progressive” lawyer and his son who had graduated from the top colleges, who had come to the house of the protagonist to talk about the wedding. The girl was well educated and smart, and surely miles ahead of the boy in every aspect, but was forced to hide it because the lawyer wanted an uneducated girl as his son’s wife who would play the role of his servant for life. The play ended with the girl not being able to take it anymore and lashing out at her father, the lawyer and his son. It also featured a hilariously oblivious domestic help who lightened the mood at the start and end.
The Fifth Play – The Monkey’s Paw was an ode to the oft quoted proverb “Be careful what you wish for”. The tale of an olden English family was told through the medium of this play. A stranger with a ” Monkey’s Paw” showed up at their door one night, claiming that it grants 5 wishes to whoever has it. The father was unwilling but upon being forced by the son and mother, he reluctantly took it. He tried to destroy it at first but was coaxed by his wife and son to make a wish for 200 pounds. Unable to see 200 pounds at the door the next morning they thought it was a hoax and went on with their day. The same evening, a worker from their son’s factory came bearing news that he had passed away and the compensation was 200 pounds from the company. It was then that the father and mother realised how everything they wished for had consequences. The mother descended into hysterical euphoria as she wished her son to be brought back to life, the play ended with the father realising he could do nothing about her situation and using the last wish to “wish his son back in the grave”. It was a riveting play with not one dull moment in it.
The Sixth Play – 3 AM Wake up Call was of the thriller-comedy genre, a very tough one to pull off but one which was executed very well by the actors. It was about a man, Bill, who had lost control of his car and murdered a prostitute and her pimp, which he preferred to call “an evening friend and her bodyguard”. He called his friend at a secluded park at 3 am to tell her about it. The unusual cool and collected nature of the protagonist injected a sense of eerie discomfort while also getting the laughs. The play concluded with Bill framing his friend for the murder with the 2 dead bodies he’d stuffed in his suitcase and leaving her alone with it as the cops showed up.
It was then time for the results. After a solid round of debating and discussing their opinions, the judges were ready to announce the results and the moment everyone had been waiting for dawned upon us.
Image by Manish Sampatrirao
The results were as follows:
BEST PLAY: Darwaza
BEST ACTOR: Kush Kumar
Chaturvedi from Saste Jahaz ke Sapne
BEST ACTRESS: Madhukori Chatterjee from Darwaza
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Anirudh Saravanan from 3 AM Wakeup Call
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Prit Khandekar from Saste Jahaz ke Sapne
BEST DIRECTION: Darwaza
BEST POSTER: Saste Jahaz ke Sapne
BEST SETS: The Monkey’s Paw
BEST MUSIC: Saste Jahaz ke Sapne
Play: Saste Jahaz ke Sapne
Actor: Arun Ramesh from THE REFUND
Actress: Nandana Nair from 3 AM wakeup call
The event concluded with a curtain call for all the participants and crew, along with some words of wisdom from the judges.
Written by Chaitanya Pandey for MTTN
Featured Image by Manish Sampatirao or MTTN
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