Three To Tango:
The plays Abhishek Pattnaik writes have unusual ideas, but he is an excellent actor too. His performance as a middle-aged Oriya professor in Two Adorable Losers was brilliant, even more so considering he is in his twenties
In his latest play, Kaise Karenge?, h ehas written an enviable part for himself as a patient of Dissociative Identity Disorder, and brings the house down every time he makes a switch between his real self and his two alter egos.
It can be argued that mental illness should be taken more seriously and not be turned into a gimmick for comedy, but then this play demands suspension of disbelief. It also has positive portrayals of a caregiver and romantic partner, who treat the patient as normal and fight the “mad” label society gives people with mental problems.
Kapil Parasrampuria (Pattnaik) works at an ad agency, while his younger brother Saurav (Darsheel Safary) dreams of going to the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, and almost gets in, when the sudden death of their mother, throws Kapil off balance.
His meek personality splits into an aggressive Haryanvi thug and a romantic poet– all the time his mother’s white dupatta is wrapped round his neck.
Saurav sacrifices his career to look after his brother and eventually, with the help of Kapil’s girlfriend (Gaurangi Dang) finds a way to use his ‘special’ abilities to work for him.
After establishing Kapil’s condition, the play starts to get repetitive and goes on for much too long after the novelty wears out; it is Pattnaik’s performance that keeps it consistently entertaining. Darsheel Safary is gaining in confidence with every play, and his caring brother is charming; Prakhar Singh as the doctor and Saurav’s bratty rival is amusing, but Pattnaik simply dominates the stage.
(This review was first published in the The Afternoon in March 2019)