ME GRANDAD ‘AD AN ELEPHANT’
What? : A Beautifully crafted English Musical.
Where? : @ PRITHVI THEATRE
When? : JUN 7, 8, & 9, 2011 at 6PM & 9PM
Who? : “HIGH-POT-IN-USE-TRI-ANGLE” and “NOT QUITE THERE” Productions
The Team: ADAPTED FOR STAGE BY AHLAM KHAN
Brought to you by
LYRICS RAMU RAMANATHAN, AHLAM KHAN, POOJA ASHER & SHIVANI SAVANT
DIRECTED BY DIGVIJAY SAVANT
CAST: AHLAM KHAN, AYESHA RAZA, DILSHAD EDIBAM, TOM ALTER, ZAFAR KARACHIWALA
CHORUS: AJITESH GUPTA, ANSHIKA GOEL, CHAITALI BOSE, ROHIN PURI, RYTASHA RATHOD, PRATYUSH SINGH, SERENA WALIA, SHIVANI SAVANT, SOHELA JALALI, VARUN VAZIR
MUSIC COMPOSED BY RITESH
If you are a theatre enthusiast, this is one which you definitely should not miss. Based onthe Novella by Vaikom Mohammed Basheed and translated by R.E.ASHER & ACHAMMA COILPARAMPIL, “Me Grandad ’Ad An Elephant!” is the story of Kunjupattumma, an innocent
and loving soul, who lives with her family in the Malabar region of Kerala. It revolves around the growing pains of this young Muslim – Malayali girl in a society of conflicts and is set against a backdrop of implied criticisms of outdated Muslim customs, an appeal to live in the present, an abundance of comedy and breathtaking Kerala.
The play attempts to understand a shy girl who is at the centre of human life, a community, a village in North Malabar. Lilting melodies and charming lyrics lend this story a delightful flavour that brings the region and time alive on stage.
It is an enchanting tale of love, and a delightful fable about a patriarch who had an elephant. Captivating music and lyrics take this enchanting story forward and present a time long forgotten and a love story that lasts beyond place and language. The story that shook Kerala in the 1950s unravels the fortunes of a Muslim family. What emerges is an unexpected blend of laughter and tears, of mellow moments and sudden threat that are very intimately related to a fanciful legend about a Grandad Who Possessed an Elephant.
In 1999, Not Quite There created and performed “Me Grandad ’Ad An Elephant!” at the University of Mumbai. The play which began as a fund raiser for the English Department at the University, under the guidance of Ramu Ramanathan, went on to do 25 shows at various venues, in and around Mumbai – the Prithvi Theatre, the NCPA, the YWCA Amphitheatre, the PEN Centre, Horniman Circle Garden, the Nehru Centre, the Tamil Sangam, SNDT, FTII, Pune, the Sahyadhri School, Pune; to name just a few. “HIGH-POT-IN-USE-TRI-ANGLE” & NOT QUITE THERE then joined forces and worked together on “Me Grandad ’Ad An Elephant!” – The Musical, a play that premiered at the Prithvi Theatre Festival – November, 2007.
Dhinchak Mumbai was privileged to be invited to a rehearsal where we could get up close and personal with the cast and crew. As most artists are working individuals, practice started late in the eveing going past dinner time. One cannot get a better example for passion theatre. On having a word with the director Digvijay Savant a.k.a Diggi, he spoke to us about his journey in theatre. He mentioned how he started his journey with Ramu Ramanathan, and how he was guided. When asked about the difficulty in converting a play like this into a musical and whether it will work with the audience, he replied that once you decide the matter to execute and after those thoughts are structured it isn’t that difficult. As far as the audience goes, he said that any audience would prefer a play set in the 1950’s being portrayed musically and hence adding to the entertainment.
It was overwhelming to be in a room filled with such talented people ranging from veterans to youngsters. Amongst them was the famous Zafar Karachiwala. Although he has worked in countless plays he said that he was particularly excited about his one as it was something new and fresh. When asked about his character ‘Nisar Ahmed’, he said that it is a difficult character as he plays a completely revolutionary young lad in an era and society of rigidity. When asked about whether the audience will like a lay put portraying such old ideologies, he replied that the play has modern thoughts and concepts but only the era is different. People can relate to it.
We were also to have a word with veteran actress and voice over artist Ayesha Raza Mishra. Sheexplained to us how she had got into her role of a dominating muslim mother in the 1950 who wants to control her daughter’s life. Been into theatre for more than 10 years Ahlam Khan has not only written for movies, performed in numerous plays but has also played the lead protagonist of the same play before. She said that working with different directors on the same play has been a new and exciting experience. Dhinchak never leaves the youngsters behind. Young Varun Vazir shared his excitement about sharing the stage with the like of Tom Alter and Zafar Karachiwala and how he gets to learn something each time they perform.
A play with outstanding talent and a beautiful portrayal of such a concept his Dhinchaker is definitely going to be at Prithvi to watch this play!! Hope you don’t miss it too!!