Twelve Angry Jurors is a brilliant theatrical production. It is the second play that Rage Productions have produced for the Aadyam initiative.
Right at the onset, the audience knows they are about to watch a class act. The play opens with a backdrop of a video footage taking us into lives of the twelve jurors, who are going to assemble in a dreary room of the courthouse. The video acquaints us with them as they go about their mundane daily routine. Then the focus shifts to the stage and one by one the jurors spring to life. It is indeed a dramatic beginning.
Twelve Angry Jurors has been very realistically adapted by Rage to suit an Indian setting. It was originally a film that was based on Reginald Rose’s teleplay Twelve Angry Men. The storyline is the same, though. A young eighteen-year-old boy, from a slum, has been accused of stabbing his father to death. If found guilty, he will surely be awarded the Death sentence. The twelve jurors have come together to deliberate this after the trial has concluded in court. All twelve jurors have to agree unanimously on one verdict, guilty or not guilty.
The setting and the acting is so realistic, that the audience perforce experiences all the jurors’ dilemma and uneasiness as they debate the various aspects of the case. The play unfolds through the course of a single day. One can literally feel the claustrophobia and heat of the dreary room, in which the jury have gathered! The drama and claustrophobia mount as they recount the events of the supposed murder and try to come to a fair decision. The tension builds up and so does the anger, as the original decision of the jurors ends up being reversed as they review the case one by one. The script is quite brilliant, and all the actors have done a great job of enacting their parts very effectively. However, Deven Khote, Rajit Kapur and Prerna Chawla stand out for their performances. Sorab Ardeshir, Suresh Venkat, Dipika Roy, Rohit Malkani, Shivani Tanksale and others are very effective in their respective roles as well.
Nadir Khan, the director of this play, deserves full praise for this excellent production, which he has turned into a great theatre experience. The merging of the background videography (cleverly made by Pushan Kriplani), with the stage acting in the foreground, is a very effective ploy. The set is very authentic with the right amount of dirt on the walls, the dust on the innumerable useless files, the non-functioning air conditioner; the director has the “Sarkari” room spot on! Another creative effect was showing on screen the events that were transpiring off stage in the attached toilet. The uniformly good acting, together with a great script and effective direction, make this play a “must watch.”
Aadyam needs to be congratulated and thanked for their efforts in encouraging good theatre in Mumbai and Delhi. Another show of this wonderful play is scheduled at JBT at NCPA on June 18th and 19th before the show is taken to Delhi next month. Do not miss it!