Reading the novel was an experience in itself. A very heart touching narrative “Mathilukal”, originally in Malayalam by Vaikom M. Basheer was translated to Bengali by Manabendra Bandopadhyay as “Deyal”. The stage adaptation of DEYAL, the visual manifestation was spectacular.
Noutonki Kolkata presented the great literary work for the first time in Bangla theatre as a monologue. And what a staging it was – a jaw-dropping experience. It was an exceptionally delicate and sensitive portrayal of a prisoner – of political rationale and love. It depicts how the same prison of dislike, dejection transforms into the most coveted space for him. It was enormously poignant to watch how a man looking forward to his freedom, even contemplating a getaway from the prison, all of a sudden was jolted by the news of his release. This separation perhaps was the justification of Deyal. It reflects how all our desires and longings are often hammered against an indiscernible wall of reality.
Abhishek Basu once again proved his mettle both as a director and actor by carrying off the characters – Basheer, Narayani, Jailor on his solo shoulders with great poise and élan. He rendered an extremely smooth and spontaneous performance devoid of any extravagance. His sensibilities and responsibilities both as a director and actor reached colossal heights with the extremely sensitive portrayal of Narayani in particular. Portrayal of women characters by male actors have been quite an age old practice. But the question always remained how well was it ever justified. Is it enough to feel like a woman and portray her character or the mannerisms of a woman are important too? If so then how well was it accomplished? Or it takes a little more than just feeling like a woman – being a woman? The question remains even after “Deyal” is staged.
The stage presentation was equally enhanced by minimalistic yet extremely effective set design planned by Abhishek Basu, a dominant light arrangement by Babloo Sarkar and a simplistic yet convincing costume by Uday Sankar Ray. The music composition by Abhishek Basu was beautifully arranged and thought-of. However it was heart wrenching to see the performance falling short of reaching the pinnacle of excellence because of an ill-coordinated and out-of pitch rendition of the song that could have been the turning point of the entire play. Improvisation is not a child's play. The proverb " PRACTICE MAKES A MAN" still holds good even to dare to think of improvising on stage. As a team work Noutonki Kolkata has excelled itself once more with Deyal.