Kamlesh Mota’s new Gujarati play, Dhummas (Fog), written by Anshumali Ruparel, is described as “an emotional thriller” which must be a term coined for Gujarati theatre, like “social comedy,” but it works for this one. (It is not a revival of Pravin Joshi’s classic play, that led to Yash Chopr’s 1969 movie Ittefaq).
Dhummas has all the thrills of an action movie, but at the core is the love two fathers, living under very different circumstances, have for their daughters. Dr Vikram Sanghvi (Linesh Fanse) is a renowned psychiatrist, who dotes on his chatterbox of a daughter Kavya (Shreya Jani). He has just returned from a trip abroad and his wife (Rajkamal Deshpande) is temporarily bedridden due to a fractured leg, when he gets a late night emergency call from the hospital, by his friend, Dr Anuj (Jay Bhatt).
The patient is an aggressive and non-communicative teenager Kesar (Toral Trivedi), who may have killed a man at the mental asylum where she had been placed, and the police need to know what happened. Even though it does not seem so urgent to Vikram, he still heeds the panic in his friend’s voice, and goes to the hospital. He manages to make a little headway in getting Kesar to peek out of her shell. When he returns home, Kavya has been kidnapped, and their house wired with camera and listening devices. To save his daughter from the kidnappers, he has to unlock a secret from Kesar’s mind, and she cannot remember anything about her past or how she landed up this hospital.
Without revealing spoilers, it has something to do with Kesar’s father (Krishna Kanabar), his attempt to save her from a gang that is after the secret.
The play moves at a furious pace, and even though the plot seems a bit far-fetched, the way it unfolds would work even better on screen. The multi-level yet compact set (designed by Subhash Asher) divides the stage into a home, a hospital and a terrorists’ den, still leaving space for scenes, not located at any of these places, to be played in the front. Linesh Fanse and Toral Trivedi (overdoing the ‘madness’ a bit) lead the efficient cast and add to director Mota’s efforts to make Dhummas very enjoyable.