Staging new highs

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Staging new highs

Sunday, 01 September 2019 | Shalini Saksena

Staging new highs

Ovee, a Hindi horror play, is set to wow the Delhi audience with its brilliant script and a must learn message, says Shalini Saksena

After staging some great plays in the last couple of years like Wrong Number, Jab We Separated and Mahabharata, Felicity Theatre is set to wow Delhiites with yet another stage show— Ovee — a Hindi horror play all set to be staged from September 7-8, 2019 at Kamani Auditorium. The play is a story of a teenage girl who losses her parents at an early age. She is sent to an orphanage by her paternal uncle. During her stay she starts experiencing paranormal activities. This play is about her struggle to survive and overcome her fears.

Starring Rohit Roy, Sayantani Ghosh, Deeksha Agnihotiri and Ridhima Bedi among others, Ovee brings for its audience a gripping theatrical experience which is full of suspense, will give you goose bumps, send shivers down your spine and keep you on the edge all through the performance.

Aniket Patil, the director of Ovee tells you that after staging over a 100 shows in Marathi and then Gujarati, it has now been translated into Hindi. “Rahul Bhuchar, producer and MD of Felicity Theatre approached me. He had heard the success of the play in Marathi and Gujarati. He told me that a horror play with special effects is something new for the audience. Also, the genre has not been explored. So we decided to come out with a Hindi version. I don’t know if a horror play has ever been staged before. But yes, I can say with confidence that Ovee is the first theatre— with special effects — light and sound. Things like objects flying in the air, drawers opening on their own, a man disappearing into thin air are only some of the things that the audience will get to see here,” Patil says who has also directed and written the Marathi and Gujarati versions.

The inspiration to put out a horror play on the stage came to Patil because he loves to dabble in the genre. “Horror as a genre fascinates me. I experiment with different genres for the stage. I wanted to write a horror play. That is how Ovee was born. I wanted to introduce special effects as well. The Marathi play was the first version. Gujarati came next because a producer from Gujarat saw it and wanted to put out a Gujarati version. Then Rahul saw it, so now it is being staged in Hindi,” Patil explains.

But there are challenges when one wants to put out a horror play with special effects that will send chills down the audience’s spine. But Patil took up the challenge. He tells you that he watched several videos on how magic tricks are done on the internet. “We also have a special effects team. I sat with them and we worked out how to bring these effects into play. It was tough. But our team is good. We were able to overcome the roadblocks,” Patil tells you and adds that the best part of the play besides the script is the message that it gives out.

He also tells you that while it is expensive to put out these special effects, it was worth it since it has opened up doors for other directors to experiment with the content. “This is good for theatre,” Patil says.

Rahul Bhuchar tells you that he was attracted to Ovee because as a theatre actor, he has not come across a horror play. “Felicity Theatre has always targeted towards meaningful theatre. While it is a horror play, there is a lesson to be learnt. It is a theatre with a cause. Since nobody had done something like this before, I decided to go ahead with it,” Bhuchar says and tells you that as theatre actors, they are looking for challenges.

“It is easy to get good writers. The tricky part is to put out a horror-thriller. You can make a fool of yourself. There were films like Purana Mandir, it was Sholay of horror. Then there were films where people laughed at the make up given to the ghost. So, one has to be very careful. The direction and performances make a lot of difference. Then there is the set itself which has come from the US. You will see a lot of visual facade. Things falling, a man appearing from the wall or disappearing into thin air. These were the challenges — to do it on theatre. It is not like a movie where one can do so much more,” Bhuchar tells you whose next project is going to be Ramayan and tells you that the stage show will be better than Mahabharat.

Rohit Roy who plays three characters in the play, that of the protagonist’s chacha from as small town, a cop and a psychiatrist tells you that of the play starts with the chacha. “He is one of those irritating and unclassy person who says whatever comes to his mind, he has no filter. The psychiatrist comes in the second half of the play to treat the protagonist — Ovee who has suffered vector the chacha. The cop is completely different from the first character. I enjoy all the three roles but to play chacha, I enjoyed the most since it is a character that plays to the gallery. The chacha is the only character who is so unlike me — a Haryanvi, to get the dialect was interesting to do as well,” Roy says and tells you that one should not compare what is happening in Ovee with a film.

“One can’t compare a stage show to a film. In a play, for two hours you have live special effects non-stop with the actors reacting to it. But the actors are so good, leave me aside, I have a pretty straight forward role but the others are so good. They have been rehearsing for over two months. They are spot on. It will be a great experience for the audience. And on a one to 10 scale, I would rate this an eight,” Roy says who has himself been rehearsing for over a month because he had been shooting for Sanjeevani and Mumbai Saga.

Roy who has been doing films, TV and theatre at present tells you that it is tough to switch from TV to theatre but not so much from films to TV. I am spending maximum time with Sanjeevani. Also there is a character in the TV show whose name is the same in Ovee as well. So sometimes, I end up getting the names wrong. I just hope it doesn’t happen during the actual show, Roy says who has had goof ups on the stage for an earlier play but not that the audience ever came to know.

According to him, the USP of the play is the script and the way it has been mounted. “I have not seen anything like this before. The fact that the audience has a greater choice and that has led to the revival of theatre. Indian theatre has been different from Broadways. But now money has come in and it is possible to launch such plays now,” Roy says.

Riddhima Bedi who plays the hostel warden where Ovee is brought in tells you that what attracted her to the play is that it is a thriller. “It has great special effects and it has horror element to it. Earlier, I have done happy-go-lucky roles. This role is different,”Bedi says for whom the role not not tough but complex.

“As an actor it is important to do varied roles otherwise complacency sets in. You keep exploring, keep shocking the audience and keep shocking yourself as well. Art is so wide. What appears to be exciting to me maybe dull for another. The audience will be as excited as excited I am on the stage,” Bedi tells you.

Working the team for Bedi was comfortable as well. “I feel so at home. The director is so patient. He gives you the leeway knowing that this particular actor has not done this genre so needs to be given some space. The good is that the minute the curtain rises, everyone is on the same platform irrespective of the background,” Bedi says and tells you that doing theatre is attraction stems from the fact that it keeps one grounded.

“One can always give a perfect shot after 10 rehearsals. The challenge is to deliver the perfect shot the first time,” Bedi says.

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