The Fault in Their Stars

Play: Gardish Mein Taare
Director: Saif Hyder Hasan
Duration: 90 minutes
Cast: Sonali Kulkarni and Arif Zakaria
Language: Hindi
Rating: 3.5

A few months ago, Ek Mulaqaat, a poetic play by director Saif Hyder Hasan, based on the love story between Sahir Ludhianvi and Amrita Pritam, premiered in the city. On his pursuit to make a trilogy on unfulfilled love, music and artistes, Hasan has now come up with the second part of this proposed trilogy. 

Titled Gardish Mein Taare (GMT), this one is also a relationship drama based on the lives of two creative people and their work. Touted to be a tribute to 1950s Hindi cinema, this particular story, written by Summana Ahmed, is heavily inspired by the life of filmmaker Guru Dutt and his singer-wife Geeta Dutt. Through its fictional characters Devdutt Bose ( Arif Zakaria) and Bhavana (Sonali Kulkarni), it gives the audience a peek into their tumultuous marriage and, once again, conforms to the stereotype - when two highly creative and talented artistes fall in love, their union usually ends on a tragic note!

Though the story is fictional, there are very clear references to Guru Dutt. The main theme of the play is his personal relationship - not just the one he shares with his wife but also the one with his filmi muse, Afsana, (an indirect reference to yesteryear actress Waheeda Rehman) with whom he allegedly had an affair.

The play makes you realise that while Dutt may have been a brilliant filmmaker and artiste, he was at best, a mediocre husband and family man. The love triangle is rather complex. Just like in fantasy romance novels, Devdutt and Bhavana write rather passionate letters to one another and many incidences show you how obsessed he was with her. Still, he becomes closer to Afsana, the main lead in his movies and the gap between him and Bhavana widens. Eventually, both take to drinking heavily and their marriage falls apart.

What's touching is that though it showcases the problems between two creative geniuses, you realise, just like any other couple, their relationship too had their own share of domestic problems - ego clashes, misunderstandings, jealousy etc. Since GMT is set against the backdrop of the '50s cinema, you are privy to interesting anecdotes about the industry. Whether they are true or not is anyone's guess.

Solid performances by the protagonists make the play watchable. Special mentions to Parivesh Singh, who composed the songs; they have an old-world charm and are situational. Also, the set by Chetan Chand is dazzling. Unfortunately, the play is a little too poetic, dark, and in some scenes, vague. Also, you wish the writer had explored the Devdutt-Afsana relationship a bit more. Go for it if you want to watch a story on cinema, passion, music, pathos and strange love!