The year is 1990.
This year, Nelson Mandela is released from prison after 28 long years, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is closed due to the fear of it falling over and Pretty Woman is playing in cinemas. Closer home, food poisoning kills 450 people at an engagement party in UP and L K Advani is active in politics.
It is also in this year that Akash (Rohit Roy) and Preet (Mona Singh) are married. But not to each other. They meet in a chance encounter and thus starts an affair. Akash and Preet decide to meet on the same date – 28th October- each year at the same resort in Goa. I assume they do not talk between these times as there are many mentions of the character’s fears that the other person won’t turn up. This first encounter is charged with sexual tension and lust. One of the most striking things about this play is that both the artists seem extremely comfortable in scenes requiring a certain degree of intimacy. Pecks on the cheek, subtle caresses are used quite generously and without inhibition, which makes it seem extremely natural.
The audience is taken on a 24 year journey of the affair and we meet the characters every 5 years.
The year is 1995.
OJ Simpson is found innocent, DVDs have been introduced to the world and Friends is aired. Closer home, PV Narsimha Rao is PM, there are rampant rumours that Ganesh idols are drinking milk and DDLJ is released.
Akash and Preet have been meeting for 5 years now. It’s still a lot about sex. They also decide to start sharing with each other one good story and one bad story about their spouses with each other.
A slightly awkward angle this. Cheating and infidelity bring a tremendous amount of guilt with them, an aspect this play tends to underplay if not sweep under the carpet. But actively discussing their spouses is sure to drive them on a guilt trip. In the course of things, this couple also discusses children, daily life and the realities of it.
The year is 2000.
This year, the London Eye has opened, the Mad Cow disease is causing alarm due to its rampant growth and Ronan Keating is considered a heartthrob. Closer home, Vajpayee is PM, Priyanka Chopra wins the Miss World Title and we are still being subjected to movies like Aaj Ka Raaven starring Mithun Chakraborty.
Akash and Preet have been together for 10 years now and a lot of things have changed. There is an interesting plot twist here that adds to the narrative but I will leave it out because it will take away from the fun.
This interesting introduction sets the tone for the second half of the play. This also is a perfect way to showcase how this couple’s relationship has matured and gone beyond just an affair. It may be slightly far fetched but it makes you look forward to the second half.
The year is 2005.
Bush comes back for his second term, Prince Charles heaves a sigh of relief as he finally ties the knot with Camilla Parker Bowles and Microsoft releases Xbox360 to the world. Closer home, Manmohan Singh is PM, Mumbai comes to a standstill with the 26 July floods and Amrish Puri, the eternal villain, passes away.
Akash and Preet are older now. More mature. Preet who has been pursuing her education is proud of her academic and business pursuits. She’s looking to do more with her life. Akash has other things on his mind. The relationship has moved beyond the superficial with both characters shown to be understanding of the other’s quirks and moods.
The year is 2010.
The world’s tallest building has opened in Dubai, Justin Beiber is making teenage girls swoon all over the world and Spain has won the FIFA World Cup. Closer home, Manmohan Singh is still PM, the Commonwealth Games (something we are all proud of) are held in Delhi and we are watching Uday Chopra on screen in Pyaar Impossible. I can tell it wasn’t a good year.
Akash and Preet are now showing signs of aging. Akash has a slight belly and Preet is flaunting a few silver strands. Both of them are still discussing spouses but there’s barely any bitterness or accusations. This scene ends on a surprising note, which of course I will not reveal.
The year is 2014.
It was last year, so you know what happened. We watch the characters get cuter, more understanding and in a comfortable space.
Play: Unfaithfully Yours
Cast: Rohit Roy, Mona Singh
Director: Raell Padamsee
Set: The entire play is set in the room of the resort in Goa where Preet and Akash meet
Show: The 7:30pm show at Tata Theatre, NCPA
The wallet is lighter by : Rs.500 per seat (It starts with Rs.500. There are tickets for Rs.750 and more. You can book tickets on bookmyshow. )
Destress quotient: 3 AAHs
Verdict: For a play that has only two characters, it keeps us engrossed enough. But, for a play that looks to explore infidelity, it touches on the aspect too fleetingly to make it real. Worth a watch though the super high ticket prices can be deterrent. The duo happily posed for selfies and the shutterbugs afterwards which was rather endearing.