Painting the City Grey

ACTOR Denzil Smith's baritone can be heard through the door of director Zubin Driver's Jogeshwari residence, where the rehearsal of the play Mumbai Vs Mumbai is taking place. He sounds agitated one moment, and gleeful the next. Driver scrutinises the actor's every move and dialogue delivery and makes regular suggestions. The play features four monologues about the passions and pains of a Mumbaikar.

"When you board a local train or bus in the evening in Mumbai, you see people returning home from work; they are tired, sometimes worried and upset. These are the Mumbaikars on a daily wage, who are struggling against forces that may or may not be under their control," Zubin explains. The play will be staged at National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) on May 18 and 19.

Zubin, who has worked in advertising, theatre and films for the past 22 years, presents this play under Pundalik Enterprises, which he founded in 2012. The name of the play Mumbai Vs Mumbai comes from the idea that the city and the people who survive it are always in a state of conflict with themselves.

The first monologue, called Silence, is about a character that has a rare moment of silence on the beach. "It is extremely difficult to find silence in this city. This meditative monologue is about a man who achieves a calm and comfort in silence," Zubin says.

Car Song is an intense piece about a 50-60-year-old, self-obsessed man. He derives vicarious pleasures from the often grim and disturbing scenes he sees from his car's window and describes them to the audience. Rathod-The Roach Killer is a curious story of a man who has the monotonous job of knocking on people's doors to rid their homes off roaches. The play is an ode to the nameless and faceless people with thankless jobs. The last piece, Spider, is about a TV anchor who refuses to go off air. The piece makes a strong point about media and how it contributes towards fracturing society.

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