By Sameer Manekar
Environmental activist turned playwright Satish Khot’s debut play — Cafe Alibaba — opened to packed audience at Gyan Adab Centre in Kalyani Nagar on Friday evening.
Focusing on the lives of four youngsters working in a call centre, the play deals with issues of relationships, unemployment, routineness of life, harassment and gender inequality at workplace.
The play opens up to an introduction by Ali bhai, owner of Cafe Alibaba, its main premise. With Ali bhai’s background story and the youngsters’ lives running in parallel, Khot, 70, succeeds in establishing the characters and the complications that arise due to their careers, and has the audience hooked with Ali bhai’s harrowing back story.
In their roles as call centre employees struggling to live their lives, the actors are convincing in their performances with their accents and mixing Marathi and Hindi in their dialogues making them real.
Bringing in the characters’ background stories at the right time and its implications in the main story, Khot surprises the audience with a climax, turning the arc into an altogether different angle.
Directed by Anub George, the play holds together throughout with the on-stage chemistry between the actors. With his well-balanced delivery and performance, Aman Modi convinces the audience in his role as a calm and composed youth, Madhu, satisfied with his life and his work. Actors Vandita Gandhi, Mrunal, Kalpesh Naik, and Chaitanya Kaul bring the stage to life with their quirkiness and boldness in their performances. In his role of Ali bhai, actor Vijay Paranjape is convincing, and holds it all together with his impeccable narration.