Suarbah Shukla on why BARFF is an important show in Indian Theatre.

22nd July 2019

Designed in a kashmiri setting, Saurabh Shukla is resolutely out to confound and yet entertain the audience with his theatrical show BARFF. After having done many theatre pieces with genre in drama and comedy, he opts for another popular genre of thriller with BARFF. 

A politicalitically toned script that sets in kashmir makes up for a thrilling show that none should miss. The show cast kept compact, Sadiya Siddique,  Sunil Palwal and Saurabh Shukla as mains. Their performances came across as sparklingly spontaneous. The set looks perfect, the lighting and sound are toned right and vibrant. Intermittently, the dialogue has depth. Indeed the formula is right, and so is the premise for the show. 

saurabh shukla on Barff Show - AGP World

Saurabh Shukla’s BARFF layouts as a deep and essential inquiry into kashmir’s condition. BARFF is a thriller that spans over one night and takes a political undertone. It questions the truth and belief which takes the protagonist on a journey to find “truth of the other side.”

Saurabh, who’s also written the script talks about BARFF with high hopes. 

“I’m very excited to bring my new play to Prithvi theatre this month. Barff is a Hindi thriller set in a wintry night of Kashmir. It’s very unusual play and with visual grandeur,” Saurabh said. BARFF makes an outstanding melting pot of thrills and ideology. The difference between the perception of the truth as understood by an erudite city-bred doctor pitted against a semi-literate kashmiri taxi driver and his wife and an ailing child.

BARFF brings along an important commentary about the political turbulence of kashmir, and comes across subtly as a sub-text in the back story, without needless emphasis. The plot eventually establishes the logic behind the solitary lives if the couple and the reason why their child is “sick”. The two protagonist represents two different facets of the average kashmiris in India. While one feels no sense of belonging because he’s never lived there and happens to be called kashmiri only because he’s born one. The other one is a true-blooded kashmiri who tries to be the perfect host to the person he has held captive. 

BARFF, which means “ice” is a metaphor for the cold-hearted mindset of city-bred, urban people who are so fixed in their notion of truth and illusion that they are not really prepared to accept anything that’s challenging to that belief. To add gravity to this, the show also defines the aura of the winter that soaks the atmosphere with the chilling mystery that fills the characters with. 

Abstract theatre has been an integral part of performing arts. Theatre shows have been practiced as an art language that’s been used in creating the commentary about social subjects. BARFF is not only an entertainment piece but also is a means to educate and make the audience think about the society they live in. It make sound for the silenced issues and counter testimonies and help raise awareness about the realities of social differences and descrimination. It wakens the discussion between its viewers and bring forward and social reasoning. When real life experiences are expressed through a play, people can easily relate, displaying their emotions and resonance leading to stronger social communications.

Storytelling is, without denial, an important tool in initiating dialogue. It makes an invitation for community dialogue on tough issues, which may not get any light otherwise. Theatre can be a place where different people of diverse backgrounds and cultures can together to tell and experience these stories. The AGP production piece BARFF, deals with themes of community differences. It tries to make a political point for its audience to see. The play makes the reflection of our society today through a simple story of three diverse people who happen to have met by the virtue of fate. 

The role of storytelling in the theatre of twenty-first century have become more than just performances and entertainment. Why I choose to tell stories is to create bridges. Storytelling is an act of heroism, that when you actually reach out and put out a story to the audience, you’re creating an empathetic bridge through it, says Saurabh.

Saurabh Shukla, who was awarded the national award for his outstanding performance of the small court judge on Jolly LLB, fleshes out a brilliant performance with BARFF, that delivers a social dialogue and makes for an important theatrical piece.