Mareez is Manoj Shah’s ode to the poet who lived and died in anonymity and deprivation, leaving behind a treasure trove of Gujarati poetry. Alcoholism, familial pressures and extreme poverty takes a toll on his health and he dies attempting to explain his life to himself in an imagined conversation with his lost love, his muse. The play is rich with poetry: there’s Manto’s “I do not determine my stories, my stories determine me,” couplets from other greats of Urdu poetry between scenes and Mareez’s own poems, which take over the narrative in the second act. Dharmendra Gohil is flawless as Mareez. A bare stage is offset by a huge backdrop of street photographs from Surat and Mumbai. Overall, the play succeeds in recreating his journey, but it is even more significant in providing an alternative to the slapstick comedies that dominate the Gujarati stage.
Dir: Manoj Shah. Writer: Rajesh Maniar. Adapted by: Vinit Shukla. Cast: Dharmendra Gohil, Aishwarya Mehta. 2 hours 30 mins.
By Pragya Tiwari on October 26 2012 1.32pm