Review Article Play Iskcon Prahalada Desh(Pakistan): Bounce back with the beads
Author: Chetan Prabhu
IIT Team and Role Played: Originally Played by:
Directed and Co-Scripted by: Dr. Neeta & H.G. Malati Devi Dasi
Narrator/Script writer/ Friend 1: (Hasmukh) Dr. Neeta
Hasmukh (Depressed/Alcoholic boy) Beena Kumari
Friend 2: (Hasmukh) Simran
Father Roop Mala Singh
Mother Deepna Singh
Small Girl (Daughter) Prathna
Yoga obsessed Girl Vaijanti Mala
Krsna Conscious lady Gita Devi Anousha Maheshwari
Watching “Bounce back with the beads” was a delight to experience. Earlier this week, while being part of the mega event of 75th Diamond Jubilee Vyasa Puja 2019 at the Library Hall Swami Narayan Temple, I had an opportunity to watch this amazing piece of art. Theatre makes you learn a lot of things as it have all the elements that keep you engaged and interactive throughout. “Bounce back with the beads” was one such play which I completely enjoyed since its very first scene right up to the end.
The play began with a grand narration performed by none other than Dr. Neeta Maheshwari who happens to be the director & co-writer of the play as well along with H.G.Malati Devi Dasi ji. The author, narrator and the actor collaboratively engaged the audience with a strong grip since beginning. As the title states “Bounce back with the beads”, the play starts in a family recreational park, where a young boy Hasmukh, is sitting on a bench, depressed as he has his own reasons to it and is willing to bury them deep in the grave of his heart. He finds temporary satisfaction in alcohol which he misunderstands to be a permanent solution to his problems but later he realizes that it is not enough, and so he decides to commit suicide which becomes his final decision.
Suddenly, his friends arrive at the park and find him sitting on the bench as if he was there since last night under the influence of alcohol. They witness that the alcohol bottle in his hand is almost over and he is about to move towards his final journey. One of his friends plays smart with him and tries to dig out the reason of his strange behavior and such extreme decision. Finally they both are able to extract the cause of his depression which is failure in his love life. He opens up and shares everything with them, his friends tries to cater him positively but the monster of depression and the influence of alcohol does not connects him to his friends emotional support.
Yada yada hi dharmasya glanirbhavati bharata
Abhythanamadharmasya tadatmanam srijamyaham.
(Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4, text 7)
(English Translation) Whenever there is decay of righteousness, O Bharata,
And there is exaltation of unrighteousness, and then I Myself come forth;
Lord Krsna is omnipresent, if not himself the above Bhagavad Gita Shloka confirms that his devotees are always present to help and uplift those who either seek refuge in him or somewhere deep in their heart have special respect for Shri Krsna unknown to their conscious mind.
Suddenly a lady named Gita Devi passing nearby for her morning walk along with her Japa Mala holding in her right hand, dressed gracefully, full of Krsna consciousness, intervenes into their conversation. She finds out the reason of argument among friends, criticizes the decision with a polite and soft tone which eventually ends up Hasmukh giving life a second chance. She briefs him and friends regarding what scriptures say about people who commit suicide and how Shri Krsna advises Arjuna to fight the battle of Kurukshetra when he decides to quit from the war. Her magnetic personality and strong conviction into Krsna Consciousness gives immense motivation to Hasmukh, he decides to challenge his own self and to move on with life. She also presents him with a Japa Beads mala and suggests him to take refuge and shelter under the Lotus feet of Shri Krsna upon which the boy agrees by regularly chanting the Maha mantra.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Next evening in the same park a family comes to spend some quality time of togetherness. It’s a small family comprising of three members a husband, a wife and a sweet little innocent daughter. They all love each other but due to some reason or the other the little girl very often confronts heated arguments between her father and mother for unknown reasons.
Assumingly, the father might have lots of frustrations and stress of work which commonly results into lack of communication at home on the contrary the mother seems to have a very blunt and straight forward behavior. She is very unhappy with her husband and keeps on complaining all the time, be it alone at home, in front of her kid or in the presence of a stranger. Due to all this the girl’s childhood is badly damaged.
As mentioned earlier, they are here in the recreational park to spend some quality time ignoring all the unhappy moments of life, the little girl approaches her mum to buy her an ice-cream. Her mother immediately directs the girl to her father and he finds that the money he carried in his wallet is missing. Without giving a single thought he blames his wife for utilizing the money without informing him, onto which the wife reacts as usual. She starts arguing with her husband mentioning all the details of differences among both of them in public. The girl again witnesses the same argument and gets disturbed. Once again, we find the same Krsna Conscious lady Gita Devi passing by, as if Lord Krsna hears the cry of the poor little girl and sends His representative to seek out things positively once and for all. She goes to the little girl, introduce her to the family and ask them for the cause of their argument. Both husband and wife start playing blame games. However, the little girl expresses herself genuinely and gives a clear picture of what happens at home every day.
A Devotee’s strength can be measured by his/her influence on people, how he/she effects and transforms the life style and behavior of a person who is not into Krsna Consciousness. Again, by her powerful, motivational and positive approach and attitude she changes the thinking pattern of the family and presents the same Japa beads mala to all three of them and advises the same. The family gets under the influence of charismatic personality of Gita Devi and agrees to act as per her advice.
Few days later, another character is added into the play, a young girl who is very much fitness conscious and keeps a strict watch over her diet and Physical yoga exercise regime. While introducing this character, the narrator explains that this girl has misunderstood the true meaning and essence of Yoga and in more into physical exercises and keeping her body on strict diet which is actually harming her body. It’s a bright sunny day and the girl is busy having her fitness regime under the scorching heat of the Sun. It is believed that knowledge without guidance is always harmful; therefore Lord Krsna always sends one of his Devotees to guide others to follow the path of Krsna Consciousness in a rightful manner.
Once again the Krsna conscious lady, Gita Devi enters the scene and approaches the girl to ask her why does she give so much of pain to her body? “I am fitness conscious and I promote Yoga”, she says confidently. “This is not yoga” replies Gita Devi, “In fact the true meaning of Yoga is to have union with the Supreme personality of Godhead i.e. Shri Krsna, you are simply giving severe pain to your body, this body is the temple of Krsna and you must strive hard to keep it healthy and let suppose just for the sake of argument if I agree that you are fitness conscious but still in this way you are taking care of your body, what about the Soul?” She questions diligently. In Bhagavad Gita Shri Krsna explains that Yoga requires balance. She further explains, “If you sleep for more hours your body will be lazy and if you do not sleep at all the same will not be productive.” Finally, after a brief explanation about the misconception of Yoga she presents her with the same Japa beads mala and instructs her to chant regularly the Maha Mantra, this will help her keep balance in maintaining her body and soul both in an effective manner.
This concludes the play and brings it to the final scene where all the characters gather in the same park at one time. All of them explains and shares their amazing transformation which they had experienced in the past few days while chanting the Maha mantra regularly. The disturbed family shares great time spending together as now they feel that life is balanced. The little girl is so much influenced by the Krishna Conscious Lady Gita Devi that she takes up reading Bhagavad Gita regularly and also recites the Shlokas in the final scene. The fitness conscious girl shares that now by practicing Yoga along with chanting of Maha mantra she feels healthier with a purified soul. Last but not the least; the friends are in search of Hasmukh. Everyone has gathered in the park but Hasmukh who promised to quit alcohol and seek refuge under the lotus feet of Krsna is missing. The search for Hasmukh comes to an end when he arrives in the final scene chanting the Maha Mantra “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”. He is now no more a sad, depressed and a lonely person, instead he is full of energy looking forward to take any kind of task confidently to serve Krsna.
The Krsna Conscious lady Gita Devi in the end along with the narrator of the play explains the significance and advantages of chanting Maha mantra and with this the play came to an end with a loud chant of togetherness among the audience.
“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”
NOT A REVIEW……. My point of view
- Great Story Telling, amazing script writing, up to mark dialogues, detailed research of characters and their traits and lastly the Narration. Excellent work! Neeta and H.G. Malati Devi Dasi ji.
- Superb Acting Skills by almost all the participants. With due respect and equal credit to all the participants, I would like to share my personal favorites in terms of acting 1) the mother played by Deepna Singh, she was so natural and genuine which clearly showcased her research done for her character. Secondly not to forget the little girl, the way she acted and specifically her recitation of the Bhagavad Gita Shlokas was simply mind blowing. Hats off to you!
- Costumes were given preference specifically to the character of Hasmukh. (No one could make it that it was actually a girl. The body language and mannerism was above par. Secondly, the Krsna Conscious Gita Devi played by Anousha Maheshwari, She truly carried her character exceptionally well. She was graceful and confident enough in every scene.
- Last but not the least, the entire backend team of ISKCON talent talk who scripted and executed this Power packed spiritual, motivational and devotional play. I am sure their sincere and dedicated efforts must have had a positive impact on many among the audience and have encouraged them to take refuge under the lotus feet of Shri Krsna and chanting regularly the Maha Mantra.
This is not a review or a critical analysis of the Drama, the author of this article is an Art lover and likes to share his opinion. Art in any format in his opinion is a very difficult and a professional task, above all it is not an individual work, many experienced and talented professionals’ works together to make a Drama or presentation therefore the author respects the dedication and efforts of each and every individual associated with “Bounce back with the beads”.
A senior actor from Hindi Film industry Shri Paresh Rawal Ji once said a very important thing in the Anupam Kher Show, “If I want to ask something about cricket I will ask Sunil Gavaskar, he is the person whose review on a particular match will be valuable for me…..I don’t believe in two stars three stars given to us”…………
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