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Review: ADISHAKTI'S 'BHOOMI' at Prithvi Theatre

Review: ADISHAKTI'S 'BHOOMI' at Prithvi Theatre

Adapted by Vinay Kumar from Sara Joseph's Malayalam play "Bhoomirakshasam"

Directed by Vinay Kumar

Cast: Vinay Kumar, Nimmy Raphel, Arvind Rane, Ashiqa Salvan, Meedhu Miriyam, Sooraj S

Anil.V.Iyer, Shivakamy Shyamaprasad

This edition of Prithvi's theatre festival welcomed Adishakti's long-running play Bhoomi. The play is directed by Vinay Kumar, who also adapted the play from Sara Joseph's Malayalam play titled Bhoomirakshasam. The theatre troop arrived from Auroville, and a brief glimpse at their repertoire reveals that they have always taken a keen interest in revisiting old Indian folktales and spinning them with bewildering modern twists. From Bali, Brhannalla, and Bheema to Ganpati - their plays have mastered the pastiche - bringing together the old and the new in entertaining ways. It is a loose adaptation of Bhoomirakshasam, a stalwart in the women's theatre movement of Kerala. For its form, the play draws from traditional art forms like therekoothu and yaskshagana to tell the story of violence against women.

Review: ADISHAKTI'S 'BHOOMI' at Prithvi Theatre

This time, the group has adopted the meta-story, a play within a play. The play tells two stories; one is the Dandakaranya episode from the Ramayana, and the other is the story of the woman director who has to put together a mythological play with a team of actors whose forbidden secrets slowly unravel. At the crux of it, both the stories tell us about how society looks at gendered violence - it questions the merit of punitive measures in a world where nothing can assure a safe and dignified existence of women.

Review: ADISHAKTI'S 'BHOOMI' at Prithvi Theatre

In form, the play uses movement and music to their joyous extremes. An assortment of Jazz, Hindustani and Carnatic music is played by the crew with the help of several instruments like a bass guitar, clarinet, drum kits, ukulele and more. The music, coupled with the dark humour of the play, is a respite from the heavy themes of the story. The most astonishing feat of the play is that it unravels in layers, not to reveal answers but rather to interrogate. It creates moods that seem to trifle with the mind - one minute there is uproarious laughter and the next, we witness inhumanity. The play surreally reminds us that evil and joy can both come from the same place, and both can influence us within the span of a moment.

Actor Nimmy Raphael shines, her moment with the guitar as a modern-day Saraswati is astonishingly impactful. Vinay Kumar essays the role of the "bad man", despite the charm of his stage presence, it was tough to feel entertained by his gimmicks as the play progressed. The crew embodied the traditional movements, and coupled them with the conviction of truth. Adishakti's Bhoomi does a remarkable job of provoking the audience to seek justice in an unequal world.



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From This Author - Richa Das

Hi, I am Richa, join me as I show you the world of theatre performers and creators, here in Delhi and Mumbai.

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Review: ADISHAKTI'S 'BHOOMI' at Prithvi TheatreReview: ADISHAKTI'S 'BHOOMI' at Prithvi Theatre
November 14, 2022

This edition of Prithvi's theatre festival welcomed Adishakti's long-running play Bhoomi. The play is directed by Vinay Kumar, who also adapted the play from Sara Joseph's Malayalam play titled Bhoomirakshasam. The theatre troop arrived from Auroville, and a brief glimpse at their repertoire reveals that they have always taken a keen interest in revisiting old Indian folktales and spinning them with bewildering modern twists. From Bali, Brhannalla, and Bheema to Ganpati - their plays have mastered the pastiche - bringing together the old and the new in entertaining ways. It is a loose adaptation of Bhoomirakshasam, a stalwart in the women's theatre movement of Kerala. For its form, the play draws from traditional art forms like therekoothu and yaskshagana to tell the story of violence against women.

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