Once in a while, one watches a play that one is forced to review. Bebe da Chamba is one such play. Disclaimer: I am a Punjabi. I love Punjabi folk music and its ability to express complex human emotions in simple words.
And for me, that was the highlight of the play - the strategic use of Punjabi folk music.
The story is simple - 4 unmarried, way past marriageable age daughters stuck in a suffocating home with a dominating mater and 2 gossiping female servants. The eldest is engaged to a prized catch - presumably bcs of the dowry she brings, while the youngest loves the same man.
The plot is complicated.. but the acting makes it easy to understand. The characters are well sketched and have integrity. You can tell how bebe will act in a given situation. Chaiji deserves special mention.. very special mention. In the brief time that she is on stage, she makes it known that a good actor is easy to spot. Which is a tall order in this play - the casting is almost perfect. Everyone from Guddi to Bebe is sooo well cast. The actress who played Vimla also deserves very special mention. Vimla was not an easy character to bring to life, and she did perfect justice to it.
But my highlight of the play was the scene where the sisters have an impromptu Gidda sequence to talk to each other. They express themselves in "bolis" and "tappas" and the most poignant of all is the admission of the engaged sister - Mahiya pehle nit milda, hun milda karaaraan te (my beloved would come to see me everyday, but now, I only see him on promised days)
A play with layers is never easy to realise, the nuances are too many and far too much depends on each member of the cast. Which is what made this evening - and the play, that much more special.
if you do get a chance, go for this play. If you are a Punjabi, you are likely to enjoy it.
1. Of all the millions of species on the planet, humans are the ONLY species with the concept of "money" - something not inherently of value, but manufactured and artificially injected with value. And it is the most important concept in our entire civilisation. An entire species.
2. We can allow a person to live for years and years in misery - whether from terminal illness, or depression or any other cause. But we do not give the person even the basic right on their bodies to determine that they want to go. We can give them comfortable palliative care, but we do nothing to end their misery - when the body is theirs and the life is theirs. Did they know, when they were born, that their lives will be held hostage by a million people who don't care about their happiness, have no valid reason for prolonging their misery, have contributed NOTHING to their lives, but who need to give an "approval" for their death. Would we still choose to be born if we knew our lives were hostage?
3. There are, at this time, at least 7 billion human, living bodies around the world. They all have flesh. We are also ok with varying levels of nudity in our personal and public spaces. A lot of people watch explicit porn, sometimes even at their workplace. BUT the minute a celebrity suffers a "wardrobe malfunction" or does something that shows flesh, we are "scandalised". I want to understand, what is so scandalising about naked flesh? Everyone has flesh and skin. Its who we are!