Sunday, April 04, 2004

the masks we wear

It's amazing that someone chose a film like Party for DVD release. And the transfer, despite its flaws, is a very watchable one (although I watched a copied-to-VHS version of the same). I remember watching Govind Nihalani's adaptation of Mahesh Elkunchwar's Marathi play on Doordarshan. Elkunchwar's name is more familiar now, thanks to some exposure during my Firodiya days. The play focuses on events before, during and after a party thrown by a socialite for the hoi polloi of the creative world of the arts (writers, playrights, actors, directors). What unfolds is a bitter satirical view of the hollow frustrations, rivalries, repressions and pretentions of a group of masked members of a society so completely out of touch with the real world, as the spectre of the absent Amrit (a member of the fold, who chose to commit to a social cause) looms large. It's Chekhovian in the sense that there is no well-plotted story, nothing much actually happens, but we are told a lot about the characters inhabiting the goings-on, and a glimpse into the quality of their lives. The opening credits are in Hindi, a minor blessing, given the dumbing down of the language itself as Hinglish becomes more and more prevalent. The cast is a veritable whos-who of fine acting, and this must remain one of Nihalani's best efforts. Despite the theatrical nature of the proceedings, this would go on my list of recommendations.

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