6: Pathjhad (Urdu/Hindi 2009)
Play: Pathjhad (Urdu/Hindi 2009)
Playwright:adapted version of Tennessee William’s “The Glass Menagerie”
Adapted, Designed & Directed: S.M. Azhar Alam

Synopsis: The story revolves around a family living in Darjeeling and consists of a mother Gayatri her son Indivar and daughter Yamini. For a husband she has a huge picture of a man who worked for a telephonic company and “fell in love with long distance”
Gayatri lives in a world that fluctuates between illusion and reality. This fluctuation between these two worlds is her only defense against the boredom and emptiness of living. Her main concern is to get her daughter happily married
The son Indivar is a poet, a dreamer, a movie buff who is caught in a conventional and materialistic world and forced to work at a tea factory to run the living.
Daughter Yamini has a slight physical defect—a limp—but she has magnified this limp until it has affected her entire personality. Her oversensitive nature makes her think that everyone notices her limp; it becomes for her, a huge stumbling block to normal living.
Gayatri wishes to organize a gentleman- Caller Mr.Tashan, who could be the right hope for her life! Of course the gentleman caller is what symbolizes a Hope- that something wonderful will happen, and then the shattering of a Unicorn who is left without its unique Horn.
The whole play is that of image versus reality, of escapism. Gayatri has a picture of the world and of gentlemen callers but which isn’t a reality. Yamini has her own imaginary reality. Indivar tries to escape, and eventually does in the footsteps of his father. Yamini is not seeking as hard to escape as Indivar, although it would do her some good to escape her world. She comes close with Tashan, but is devastated and regresses back into her world, probably deeper than she was before.

Press Reviews:

“A Classic Return….Little Thespian’s welcome return to regular drama with Patjhad, based on Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, proves just how superior the script of a classic play is……..S.M. Azhar Alam merely Indianizes the locale from St. Louis to Darjeeling and compacts the original in his Hindi adaptation for it to work its intrinsic magic again. He directs with a brisk pace that successfully undercuts Williams’ sentimentality and heavy symbolism……the cast exudes confidence….Alam’s set design with three pyramidal walls of veneered planks aesthetically suggests the wooden paneling in hill houses. ”
The Telegraph, Calcutta, Saturday, July 11, 2009

“While city-based theatre group, Little Thespian’s Hindi adaptation of The Glass Menagerie, promises to talk about the doomed Wingfield family and the coquettish Amanda, the play is set not in the stifling confines of a typical Kolkata flat, as one would have expected, but in the hills of Darjeeling. A clever choice, considering the fact that the incestuous smallness of the hill-station makes it an interesting stage for the Wingfield family drama to unfold….many may squirm at the idea of a Tennessee Williams play in Hindi….still, almost any production of this exquisite play, however experimental, is worth seeing…..any interpretation of Williams will always be better than no Williams at all.”
The Indian Express, Thursday, April 30, 2009

“Call it the directors direction or the actors performance all the characters- whether its Uma Jhunjhunwala as Gayatri Pradhan or Surender Kapoor as Indivar Pradhan or Mohasin Khan as Tashan Chettri or Heena Parwez as Yamini Pradhan- all did justice to their character…..”
Chappte Chappte, Kolkata, Sunday, June 7, 2009

“Little Thespian is one of those theatre group which for the past fifteen years has been doing its utmost to propagate Hindi/Urdu in Kolkata and during this period has presented many memorable plays which has enriched the theatre world. Its latest production ‘Patjhad’ is one such play. Bringing to the forefront life’s incompleteness, insecurities…hope that something wonderful will happen….all the actors got under the skin of the characters….stage design (S.M. Azhar Alam) and light design (Joy Sen) were very powerful…..all in all Little Thespian’s ‘Patjhad’ is bound to leave its mark on the audience for which the actors as well as the director should be congratulated.”
Jansatta, Kolkata, May 22, 2009

“With a strong story line, the director manages to convey a social message and in the process, also sustain the interest of the audience. His creative vision has found the apt expression in the performance of the entire cast…..”
The Asian Age, Kolkata, July 31, 2009

Little Thespian has given an altogether different facet to theatre in Bengal with its production “Patjhad.” It was like poetry on stage…..Excellent stage design…scintillating light (by Joy Sen) and music (Murari Rai Chowdhury) and above all outstanding performance by the actors of Little Thespian….as if giving physical expression to director S.M. Azhar Alam’s imagination and concept.
Bengali Daily Satyajug, Monday, July 20, 2009

Aspirations against odds….The play Patjhad, staged by Little Thespian, a group from West Bengal, at NIFT as part of the Commemorative Theatre Week being celebrated by the Qadir Ali Baig Foundation, looks at aspirations in the face of odds. Directed by S M Azhar Alam, Patjhad is about a middle class family and its will to live life against all odds. It is about hope. It is the story of every middle class family across the world.
Well-sketched characters, strong screenplay and pertinent dialogues are plus points of the play. The Hans India, Hyderabad – 19th June 2012

Of dreams, illusion and reality….'Patjhad' works as an Indian adaptation of ‘The Glass Menagerie' without sacrificing its original intent. Waiting for the NIFT auditorium to be filled by the slow trickle of people arriving to watch the performance of Patjhad staged by Kolkata's Little Thespians as a part of the Qadir Ali Baig Commemorative theatre Week, you are left with ample time to contemplate what S.M. Azhar Alam's adaptation of Tennessee Williams' classic might be like. The minimal sets give nothing away except that the play is set in a middle class household in India. A photograph of a man hangs in the corner, its presence highlighting the absence of the man himself. This sets the stage for the performance the audience is about to witness — the story of the Pradhan family where roles of mother, son and daughter have been stretched to fill the void left since the father's desertion. Patjhad is the second Indian adaptation of The Glass Menagerie. The first, critically acclaimed Malayalam film Akale, directed by Shyamaprasad is set in 1970s Kerala in an Anglo-Indian household. While the D'Costas of Akale are closer to the characters in Williams' original than to the average Indian family, the Pradhans embody all the idiosyncrasies of the countless middle class families in the country. That Azhar Alam has weaved into the script an undeniable ‘Indian-ness' without interrupting its flow is a testimony to his skill as a writer and director.

The story is about a doting mother Gayatri Pradhan, portrayed brilliantly by Uma Jhunjhunwala, who is trying to do the best for her children. The efforts of the cast were complemented by the lighting and music. Joy Sen showed excellent use of light and shadow to maintain the aura required for the play which alternates between memory, illusion and reality.
The Hindu, June 17, 2012