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Loved The Office? Check out this play set in an office smoking lounge

Written by Adhir Bhat, directed by Akarsh Khurana, it’s bound to strike a chord if you’ve ever worked in a corporate setup.

mumbai Updated: Jun 27, 2017 16:50 IST
Deepa Gahlot
Deepa Gahlot
Hindustan Times
Siddhart Kumar plays an English-speaking tech geek who is trying to give up smoking.
  • WHEN: Saturday, 6 pm and 8 pm; Sunday, 5 pm and 8 pm
  • WHERE: Prithvi Theatre, Juhu
  • TICKETS: Rs 400

It was at Delhi airport that Akarsh Khurana observed the smoking area, where some men were sitting around with cigarettes; a woman walked in and everyone seemed to freeze. She finished her smoke and left the room, and everything was back to normal.

Khurana told playwright Adhir Bhat that he wanted to capture that moment on stage, and Dhumrapan emerged, which won for Bhat the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre’s Best Playwright award.

The play is set in the smoking room of a corporate office, in which the ambitions, insecurities and fierce competition of the rat race play out, alongside unexpected bursts of compassion, self-awareness and escape.

“The smoking area of an office,” observes Khurana, “is where people tend to talk about things about which they would remain silent inside their workspace.”

Dhumrapaan, with its push-pull between the old and the brashly young, all overseen by a nasty boss (Kumud Mishra), will be relatable to every viewer who has worked in a corporate environment.

It could be seen as a companion piece to Khurana’s hugely successful The Interview, which was also a corporate satire, written by Siddharth Kumar, who plays a crucial part in Dhumrapan as the only English-speaking tech geek trying to give up smoking; the one who turns out to be a catalyst in the crisis that hurtles the story into its unexpected climax.

“It’s interesting… The Interview was a crossover play for us, loved by Hindi belt audiences in north Indian towns; we thought we would return the favour by doing a Hindi play set in an urban milieu,” says Khurana. “You know, in the corporate world, Hindi is a great binding force with people who come from small towns and are forced to speak English in the office.”

First Published: Jun 16, 2017 16:57 IST