Love Letters on Friendship's Day ...


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August 3rd 2008
Published: August 4th 2008
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Indian theatre and cinema are coming of age. A few years ago it would've been difficult for theatre lovers to indulge themselves and for actors to find an outlet for their talents, but now there are many avenues which provide serious actors and drama enthusiasts opportunities to cultivate their passions. The largest one would have to be the National School of Drama (NSD) in Delhi from where theatre greats have graduated and returned to teach. Here in Bangalore theatre lovers' appetite is satiated by Rangashankara, Aundhati Nag's dream theatre company.

Rangashankara plays an important role in Bangalore's theatre scene not only because it brings the best to theatre goers but provides nascent thespians with opportunities to showcase their talents.

'Love Letters', starring Rajit Kapoor (who I suspect may be NSD alumni) and Shernaz Patel was screened today. Initially it appears that the title of the play was misleading. The letters in the play are between two individuals who are little more than acquaintances. The first letter between the two is exchanged when they are both in second grade. After this starts a relationship fueled by regular hand-written letter to each other. In these letters they discuss their lives and, occasionally, their feelings for each other. As they grow up they try to find out what kind of relationship they share and try to categorize this relationship by conventional standards. At one point they feel that these letters are preventing them from getting to know the 'real' person, the one who pens the letters. However, despite trying very hard they are unable to recreate in person the relationship that exists between them in the letters. As life and the letters go on, they realize that they are inextricably linked through the letters and stop trying to explain and understand the relationship. The story ends many years later in tragedy and with another letter exchanged between the friends.

Does this play attempt to demystify the age-old question of love versus friendship? Does it imply that friendships last forever merely because it requires less obligations whereas as love can change and bog down a person? Why do the two friends remain in touch despite failed relationships, children, abusive parents, drinking problems etc? Was it because 'loved ones' drove them into obligatory relationships but their friendship provided them with the luxury to just 'be'? Had it 'worked out' between the two friends romantically, would they have been happier? Or are friends meant to forever support you and be present in times of need, even when they see your downfall? Are there limits to love? If yes, what are they? Are there limits to friendship? Again, if yes, what are they?

This was a special performance at Rangashankara and this play was on only twice. There are shows at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm. If this play is screened again in Bangalore, it is worth a watch.

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5th August 2008

It is true that friendships require less obligations and less commitment. But I think generally the problem is that love tends to bind, which is something that friendship never does.

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