The engaging,engrossing Shanti Vihar, Gali No.6
The nation while wades through the currency crisis, national TV anchors are busy battling over demonetisation, the cash counter of Little Theatre Group, Copernicus Marg, was abuzz with the sight and sound of 100 rupee notes. This week has been designated as laughter weekend to enthuse the much needed humour within a cash starved audience. I parted with my prized hundred rupee note to be regaled by the laughter dose of play, Shanti Vihar Gali No 6.
Gallis and Mohallas have their unique culture which they have managed to retain despite the social pollution which has threatened our cultural and social values. Shanti Vihar is a quaint galli in a city with multiple small houses. The environment of this area is contrary to what you see in cities. There is little to no room for self-centred approach in Shanti Vihar Gali No.6. Residents of the gali are all eyes and ears to the lives of other people. They feast on the dose of bitching and back biting. They are always on the watch on what’s happening next door, to the extent that they don't even hesitate to peep into others’ houses. Mrs Sharma and Mrs. Khanna, meeting over purchase of vegetables, present a bright and happy picture, despite the adversaries of life. One has an alcoholic husband and the other has an abusive husband. But they stay in a state of complete happiness. The liberal usage of crass language invites laughter but at times it is overdone. Gaales or abuses are offered generously and without any inhibitions. Female protagonists in the play are strong and not solely dependent upon the mercy of their husbands for their happiness. Lajwanti has many flings but makes no bones about it. She has a house to run and children to feed in the absence of her husband.
Momo and Gogo are two prankster sons of Lajwanti who have a friend named Baby. Baby has mastered the art of borrowing from neighbours on her mother's initiation. It also speaks how dependencies keep the people connected and together. The lecherous men of the area don't miss any opportunity of a visual treat and their favorite haunt is panwalle ki dukaan. The hot, sizzling Maria in her short, skimpy attire gets the adrenaline rushing for Sharma, Khanna, milkman, watchman and even the sweeper. Baby's mother goes to the extent of referring Maria as Garibon ki Katrina Kaif out of irritation and disgust.
Entry of a newly renting couple at Shanti Vihar triggers curiosity and more excitement. A party is organised to welcome them where all the residents meet and bask in their finery and jewellery. Eyeing each other's appearance, making mental comparisons and then voicing it out appears only a natural choice to them. They sing, dance and try to make the most of the evening.
The play speaks of the comfort zone each mind adopts to cope up with situations in life. No problem is actually a problem in Shanti Vihar but every word spoken brews confusion. Each house has a unique and distinct story yet all the residents are tied together. They fight which is not right but the next moment they smile without fright. Their laughter, dialogues create riots on stage, performance of each character deserves applause. The much needed humour in life spills at Shanti Vihar, Gali No.6.