ELKDTAL Analysis – Theatre for the Common People

This is a theme post on ELKDTAL, since theatre plays (pun intended) a big part of the plot and acting in general. It’s nice to see theatre this big part of a plot in an Indian film, usually its all about movies, but this and Aaja Nachle (2007) from those the I’ve seen are focused on theatre and how impactful it is still in this world of Multiplexes and streaming. Heck, it’s the oldest form of entertainment and hopefully will never leave or be forgotten. Sorry it has taken me this long to write this up, school got in the way for a while. Thankfully the movie impacted me so much that it’s still easy to remember what happens, but the nuances with character analyses and all I will most likely save until the movie is available streaming so that I can catch all of it. So yeah, a little heads up already that these will take time to make.

AND HEADS UP SPOILERS ARE ON THE WAY!

 

So let us begin with Shakespeare:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Jaques – As You Like It – Act II Scene VII

 

 

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Our cast of characters, as actors on a stage ready to make their play and finally take their bows. That was my first take on this set up of them all and it fits considering their parts if put on a Sparknotes type of summary. There are the two funny servants, the writer and false love interest, the loving father, the perfect daughter, the overbearing grandmother and the bubbly middle aged woman. This is what we first see of these characters, what they appear to us at a first glance, but as we watch the movie the deeper and in depth they are.

 

 

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In the film the play is a way is originally to let Sweety come out to her family, but when her brother tell their father and the rest about it she declared that “This play will go on” while holding to Kuhu’s hand. It’s a statement of independence and it shifts the plays meaning, not just for her to come out, but to have her father accept it and he can’t stop her from going through with this. She knows what is important and what must be done, society’s or her family’s opinions set aside, but it still hurts her to do so – to reject her family to be free.

 

ELKDTAL-Good-morning-song-Juhi-Sonam-Anil-Rajkummar-Regina-FI

Putting on a play is also a group activity, no matter in what part for he world you are. There are crazy and weird warm ups to let your body loose, your vocal cords to open up and just to put you in to a relaxed but still alerted state of mind so you know to follow the others and react to what they do. Its about interaction, just like what Sweety and Kuhu do, except they have to do it in secret even in this place where everything is supposed to be open and free.

 

Also the theatre has been a draw for all LGBQT+ people since the dawn of time with its crossdressing like men playing women in Shakespeare’s time – now think of Romeo and Juliet for a moment, women can and have played Hamlet, in India men can play as women in the tales of Ram-Leela (like above) and Hijras are performers at births because of superstition. These are only a few examples of the West and India where performing crosses or is above gender norms. So to say that a love story about two women is shocking seems hypercritical since men have acted love stories together since the time of Ancient Greece and thanks to patriarchal society “norms” women weren’t allowed on stage until the 17th century in certain parts of Europe.

 

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As for the poster for the play seen above. In the film it’s quite symbolic as the play – like this movie – is holding up a mirror to society and rejecting on its injustices of love that still are a taboo in conversation and in society even when they shouldn’t be. But we are seeing it through a mirror, on stage, right in front of us and you have a choice as the audience to either reject and break the mirror or to accept the person that looks from it.

 

We are seeing Sweety’s life on stage, written by Sahil and performed by those who know them both. Theatre is after all a family and in the end its her real family that accept her as well.

 

 

This was a short one, but I hope you enjoyed it. 

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Thank you for reading! 

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