Clean Design

4. Alka (2013)
Play: Alka (2013)
Playwright: Manoj Mitra
Translation: Uma Jhunjhunwala
Design & Direction: Uma Jhunjhunwala

Synopsis: ALKA is a social play where playwright Manoj Mitra has thrown light on the different aspects of life. On one hand it shows the worries of ALKA the mother, on the other there is “Mansi”, her docile daughter who once being a victim of domestic violence due to dowry, rises up like a phoenix and tries to bring her perpetrators to justice. Then there is the modern menace of ragging, which the playwright has tried to show through “Shubho”, Alka’s son, who loses his mental equilibrium and ends up in an asylum. The difficulties faced by divorced women that too with an infant child are very well depicted by the character “Devahuti” , who finds it very difficult to lead a healthy normal life in this society where being divorced is still considered a taboo. She is branded as characterless by her landlady “Bhavani” and thrown out of the house.
society where being divorced is still considered a taboo. She is branded as characterless by her landlady “Bhavani” and thrown out of the house. lishing”.
Mitra’s character Jadhupati shows the gradual mental disintegration of today’s youth when he mouths the following lines “today’s youth are like the birds who are shaken up by a storm….they do not have confidence in them nor do they want to believe in relationships.” Mitra becomes philosophic through Rajninath (Alka’s husband) where he sums up life’s ups and downs through quotes such as “if death is a thing that money could buy, the poor they would live, the rich they would die.”
Therefore Alka is centre of this play or the SUN around whom the different characters revolve and whatever happens in the life of those characters is well conveyed through her.

Clean Design

Press Reviews:
Uma Jhunjhunwala’s direction and memorable performances by the actors keep the audience glued to their seats till the very end….
Dainik Bhaskar, Jodhpur, September 17, 2013

Uma Jhunjhunwala’s direction and the coordination of actors with each other has crafted ALKA a pleasurable experience…it also incorporates Murari Ray Chowdhury who deserves commend for his musicscape that go hand in hand with the utterances. A concise romantic dream sequence injected to act as a reliefe from the tension must be brought to light and eulogized. Jhunjhunwala flashbacks those good old days of Alakananda and Rajninath with Jaishankar Prasad’s poetry – “woe kuch din kitne sunder the……” Jhunjhunwala’s utterances in this particular scene lingers hours after leaving the theatre.
News Mania, Weekly, July 29, 2013

Throughout the play one can see the powerful imagination of director Uma Jhunjhunwala, especially in the two flashback scenes where Alka remembers her happy past with Jaishankar Prasad’s poetry – “woe kuch din kitne sunder the……” and the scene where Mansi asks her mother not to worry about her…..lastly it can be said that Uma Jhunjhunwala is taking herself higher with each production.
Prabhat Varta, Hindi Daily, March 24, 2013

All the characters in the play performed flawlessly and everything from the stage set-up and music to costumes and dialogue delivery was commendable….The expression of all the actors especially Alka (Uma Jhunjhunwala) and Rajninath (S. M. Azhar Alam) were commendable…..the play was so natural that everyone in the audience could relate to it.
The Bengal Post, English Daily, March 15, 2013

Uma Jhunjhunwala, the director as well as the Hero-despite her gender- of the play, wins heart with her sensitive and compassionate portrayal of Alka – the wife, the mother, the sister, the neighbor, the tenant and the woman.
The Times of India, English Daily, May 18, 2014

The play kept the audience spell bounded and glued to their seat….all the actors performed excellently…very natural…..nothing OTT…and all the credit goes to the director Uma Jhunjhunwala for bringing out the best in the play…..
Prabhat Khabar, Hindi Daily, May 14, 2013

A woman’s journey of hardship was wonderfully shown in the play Alka….the characters performed so well that it shook the audience…the play left behind many open end questions and the people were hooked to it till the very end.
Rajasthan Patrika, Hindi Daily, May 16, 2013