Crossings at Benaras Junction
May 18, 2007
Another one from the LittleMag stable. This one’s a play called Crossings at Benaras Junction by Kaushik Basu. The play is about a professor of philosophy, Siddhartha Chatterjee, who wins an international honour, but instead of being elated, is instrospective and lonely. He seeks the love of his life, and his life seems incomplete. There is another thread about a travel tour operator, who somehow unwittingly tries to use acronyms of international agencies (wuch as WTO and GATT) for his agencies, whose sole aim in life is to make money, and not ethically. The two stories come together in the end.
What I loved about the play was the subtle humour, the word-play (WTO and GATT), allusions to well known literary works (Lady Chatterjee’s Brother). There is sophistication in the humour, for instance there is slight paradox brought out when Siddhartha counters June’s statement about being god-fearing with a quip from Vivekananda — "There is no sin bigger than fear", and whether Siddharth speaks for both sides — whether bluffing is good or not.
Gupta ji is an interesting character, I guess it would be fun to play him!
However, I felt that a lot of places the play sagged in energy. The sophisticated humour notwithstanding, one needs to have some energy to sustain audience’s interest in the play. Also, the climax was a big disappointment. As we went towards the denoument, one got the feeling that the whole play that had been built up so beautifully, came crashing down like a pack of cards. I really don’t understand what the need of a Bollywood style ending was!
On another note, I find myself reading a lot of articles from Little Mag and enjoying them. I guess I should just buy a subscription.