Verdict: This play will make you laugh outrageously and will deeply question your faith, in the spiritual and ritual sense, in God.
Director: Umesh Shukla
Cast: Paresh Rawal, Chirag Vora, Jimit Trivedi , Puja Gupta, Ankit Trivedi and others.
Can you imagine how the world would be without 9/11?
That one act of crime, committed in the name of God & religion, has shaped global future and dominated international policy and relations. While terrorism is now a loosely used word, God & Religion have become pawns to further personal agendas & motives.
This cavity between what religions (in their original sanctity) actually preach and how they are interpreted in the real world is what Krishan Vs. Kanhaiya, a Paresh Rawal play produced by his wife / actor Swaroop Sampat deals with. An adaptation of the gujurati play ‘Kanji Virudh Kanji’, this drama satirically expresses the consumerism and convenience that is now associated with God through the eyes and ideologies of the central character Krishan, essayed by Paresh Rawal.
Krishanlal Mehta, an atheist by choice and an antiques seller by profession faces an unpleasant situation when his livelihood (shop) is shaken & completely toppled under the force of an earthquake. Being a thorough gujarati businessman he has the shop well insured but he gets a rude shock when told that his dukaan is not eligible for the insurance claim as the devastation was an ‘Act of God’ and not man-made / caused. With no means of earning and with the insurance company turning a deaf ear to his pleas, he decides to file a case against God in a court of law so as to collect his money from Him.
What follows is a very intelligent, deeply thought out and well argued case for and against the existence of God, the role of multi-billion religious trusts, how the common man has become ‘God fearing’ rather than ‘God loving’ and the fallacies of insurance.
To add a twist to the tale, Kanhaiya – the Lord Himself – presents himself to Krishanlal and through witty dialogues & smart arguments gets him to see the true picture of God. Yet, this play isn’t about an atheist getting converted to a hardcore believer; but rather the discovery of oneself with the help of a wise friend in the avatar of God.
Writer Bhawesh Mandaliya weaves humour into the serious plot and making the final output a little preachy, without being cocksure. Director Umesh Shukla stays true to the script and has managed to capture the essence and nuances of each character. While the supporting cast are impressive but Mr. Rawal is definitely the show stopper. He effortlessly makes his character genuine and leaves a mark in the minds of the audience.
The one thing that the director and producer need to look into is the length of the play; the duration of two hours & 15 minutes could probably be reduced to two hours. These 15 minutes can be edited from the beginning of the second half which tends to sound repetitive, and is unnecessarily stretched.
Nonetheless, watch this play to add laughter to your life and in the process find answers to some deep rooted questions of self & spirituality. As Paresh Rawal says, “Krishan Vs. Kanhaiya is a comedy play but it is not mindless comedy. Mind it!”
— Hilonee Furia