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A farrago of emotions: Shashi Tharoor’s short stories take centre stage

The Mumbai-based Tantra theatre group is staging a play titled Farrago based on Shashi Tharoor’s relatively unknown collection of short stories.

mumbai Updated: May 18, 2018 15:43 IST
Jayati Bhola
Jayati Bhola
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,theatre,plays
Artistes rehearse for the play, on Thursday.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

When Shashi Tharoor tweeted about “an exasperating farrago of distortions”, he probably didn’t imagine it would become the most searched word on Google India, or that it would get its own spin-off play.

The Mumbai-based Tantra theatre group is staging a play titled Farrago based on Shashi Tharoor’s relatively unknown collection of short stories, Five Dollar Smile (1990), at Si Bambai on Saturday.

“Not many people know that Tharoor wrote witty short stories, and a full-fledged play, between the ages of 17 and 21,” says Soumitra Acharya, director of the play and founder of Tantra.

The play follows four stories written by Tharoor — ‘Political murder’, an assassination tale with a desi Sherlock-Watson element; ‘The other man’, a monologue by a jilted husband; a romcom about a fan who’s been friend-zoned; and ‘The solitude of a short story writer’, about an author who is fast losing friends.

“The stories are diverse but are placed in a contemporary setting such that people can relate to the play,” says Tania Roy Chowdhury, producer of the play and co-founder of the group.

Farrago was staged for a limited audience in 2017, as part of Tantra’s ‘living room theatre’ sessions. “The feedback was so good, we felt we could take it to a larger audience,” Acharya says.

The idea of adapting Tharoor’s stories stems from the group’s focus on adapting tales by Indian authors. So far, they’ve staged plays based on works by Satyajit Ray, Gulzaar, Ruskin Bond and RK Narayan.

“Farrago is defined as a state of confusion, something I felt while reading Five Dollar Smile, because none of the stories is connected to another,” says Acharya. “The only thing connecting them was Tharoor’s way with the language, which is witty, well-articulated and beautiful. We’ve exchanged emails with Tharoor’s office and have his consent for the play; he seemed intrigued by our adaptation,” Acharya adds.

WHAT: Farrago, a play based on stories by Shashi Tharoor

WHEN: May 19, 6.30 pm and 8.30 pm

WHERE: Si Bamabi, 105, Mumbai Samachar Marg, Kala Ghoda

PRICE: Rs 300, tickets are available online

First Published: May 18, 2018 00:03 IST