Everything Personal – a taut and gripping play | Manohar Khushalani

A Review by Prof. Manohar Khushalani
Published earlier as ‘Intertwined Lives’ in IIC Diary
Nov-Dec 2010 Issue

Indian theatre professionals have been complaining about lack of contemporary indigenous playwrights. But a crop of new playwrights is emerging. Abhishek Bhattacharya’s ‘Nothing Will Happen Between Us’ and Anushka Ravi Shankar’s ‘Phoenix’ come to one’s mind. The latest new playwright to hit the horizon is Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a seasoned journalist; whose first play, ‘Everything Personal’, was presented by Yatrik under the direction of Bhaskar Ghosh. Incidentally, all the three plays were produced by the India International Center, though the first two were presented by Ruchika Theatre Group at IIC earlier.

Mukhopadhyay’s precisely written script is about what happens when Everything Personal leaks into the public domain.  The play revolves around a radio reality show. The show has listeners phoning in, and, using made-up names, answering very personal questions, hopefully truthfully – since they are promised by the Radio Channel that their identities will be kept concealed. The story revolves around two couples whose lives get intertwined due to the radio show. Vivek (Sunit Tandon) and Nupur (Rupali Sharma) are a lovey-dovey couple who have Ganesh, (Vishaal Sethia) and Madhuri (Isha Joshi) as frequent visitors, often coming over for dinner. Vivek is intrigued by the show and is uncontrollably attracted to it with his thrill-seeking temperament. As Vivek is artfully drawn in by the Radio Jockey (Aarti Nayar) to reveal intimate secrets of his life, it creates a turmoil in the lives of the remaining three. For one, Vivek had a previous relationship with Madhuri, which he confessed about on the radio show, without revealing her identity – though, it didn’t take long for the spouses to guess. As the shows progressed, the pressure of keeping the listeners entertained led to unprecedented brinkmanship on Vivek’s part. So much so, that he inadvertently revealed a deep dark secret of his life which shocked even the radio channel.


Bhaskar’s taught direction did full justice to Mukhopadhyay’s script which kept the audience on tenterhooks. Sunit Tandon’s rendition of an unfathomable liar, who keeps others guessing as to whether he was lying or not, was well crafted. Arti Nayar, Rupali Sharma and Vishaal Sethia gave competent performances. Sinia Dugal and Ramesh Thakur as Vivek’s parents provided the appropriate support, however, Isha Joshi needs to work on her voice projection. The play was not just entertaining, but it also examined some issues regarding the high expectations of the younger generation and marital loyalty in a contemporary framework. One hopes that the Playwright will continue to write and contribute to the Indian theatre scene.

Published earlier as ‘Intertwined Lives’ in IIC Diary Nov-Dec 2010 Issue

DU Professor and Thespian Lola Chatterji Passes Away

Lola Chatterji (26 July 1924 – 5 June 2019)

Lola Chatterji, who died peacefully on 5th June 2019 was a well-recognized figure in theatre circles in the capital. As a member of the English Department at Miranda House for over two decades, she was involved in many theatre productions in Delhi University in the sixties and seventies. Among the plays she directed or co-directed at Miranda House were: Easter (Strindberg), The Rape of the Belt (Levy), The Member of the Wedding (McCullers), Ring Round the Moon (Anouilh), Mourning Becomes Electra (O’Neill), and The Importance of Being Earnest (Wilde). She was also closely involved as staff advisor and mentor in three plays put up by DUMADS (Delhi University Music And Drama Society): Rhinoceros (Ionesco), A Man for All Seasons (Robert Bolt), and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Stoppard).

Lola’s life-long interest in the theatre continued for many years after her retirement. She served for many years as Vice President of the Shakespeare Society of India and as a board member of Yatrik. She was particularly known for her make-up skills. There would e few actors in Delhi University theatre or in Yatrik who did not have their make-up doen by her.

A memorial event for Lola Chatterji will be held on 4th July 2019 at 6:30 pm in the Multipurpose Hall, Kamladevi Wing, India International Centre, New Delhi. All are cordially invited to the event