Fears aside when Kotwal is by your side - Review of Saiyan Bhaya Kotwal
Kotwal & Daroga have been the most preferred characters of story writers and playwrights since times immemorial. Saiyan Bhaye Kotwal in Hindi is an adaptation from a Marathi play written by Basant Sabnis which leaves you in splits of laughter. Dr. Ahshayvar Nath Srivastava as the director of the play has brought out the real elements of each character on stage. It's in the form of a folk drama, with a rich dose of music and dance, scintillating dialogues, rural dialect and wonderful voice modulations. Humor and satire when combined give astonishing returns. It brings out how blatantly injustice is inflicted but through comical situation.
There is some speculation about death of Kotwal in the opening scene. The announcement of Kotwal's death, results in making the Hawaldar confident of securing the position as being the deserving rightful candidate. The only thing which matters to Hawaldar, played by Sudhir Rana, is to get the Kotwal's chair and taste unstinted power. However norms are flouted and the post is filled by the undeserving brother in law of the Prime minister who is a simple rustic herdsman. Hawaldar is disappointed at this turn of events but doesn't lose hope. He teams up with his love interest Mainavati, a bewitching beauty, played by Aakansha Pal. She is proficient in dancing and singing and uses it to lure the new Kotwal and frame him.
Side by side Hawaldar's subordinate Sipahi, played by Adit Srivastava, is also hopeful of climbing the ladder of succession and keeps the interest alive by his witty dialogues and great camaraderie with the Hawaldar. He spares no chance to ogle at Mainavati but is snubbed by Hawaldar much to his dismay on every opportunity.
Entry of the newly anointed Kotwal , played by Nirmal Singh, invites suppressed laughter from Hawaldar and Sipahi. Even the audience is enthralled by his excellent Braj Bhasha dialect. He is guided to Mainavati to fell prey to her seductive singing and dancing. On arrival at Mainavati's house he is greeted by Sakhya, the eunuch. His brief character has a lasting impact owing to his verbosity and bold dance moves.
Kotwal is struck by Mainavati's beauty and Mainavati uses her prowess and makes Kotwal fulfil her various wishes. Kotwal now an intoxicated and lovelorn fool gets Kings ring and chain to please Mainavati. She increases her demands and asks for chappari Palang or the four poster bed of King.bKotwal falls in the trap and gets the bed too and is caught by the King.
There are lots of Political undercurrents, subtle and direct references to ministers. It's a magnificent blend of dance and songs, comedy and satire. In the end Mainavati and Hawaldar are together promoted as Kotwal and everything ends well. Mainavati's long cherished dream gets fulfilled.
The succession of events happens with roars of laughter and applause. There are no elaborate sets but the powerful acting and dialogue delivery by the protagonists are splendid. The sycophancy culture rules throughout the play. The atmosphere is lively, cheerful devoid of any dull moments. At the end you feel fulfilled, rejuvenated and charged up.
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