Presented by the Jann Sanchar Group, its maiden production, the play, spread over five scenes, began with the discussions held between the new proprietor, Rahul Khemka and one of his editorial staff, whom he had assigned a study to be conducted Kiran, based on which he decides that he should revamp his 50-year old newspaper, a venerated brand which is now declining in market share and advertisement revenue.
He has a formidable barrier ahead of him – the legendary editor, Neelakantan who feels that the new readership, the current crop of youngsters, do not deserve to be taken seriously and the paper should focus its attention on critical and vital issues affecting the nation. Rahul confronts him with his survey findings and virtually shunts him out of the institution where he has served thirty plus years, mentoring generations of journalists.
Post dismissal, the play takes a look at how the editor attempts to rally his friends and supporters together drawn from politics, business, social service and civil society sectors to begin a new publication and how he ends up feeling bewildered as he is pulled in different directions by all of them, with hidden agendas.
Featuring mass communication students drawn from city colleges with a few working scribes too in the star cast, the play took close swipes at the on-goings in newsrooms and board rooms of newspaper offices.
But considering the fact that the play was symmetric around the eternal saga of sacking the editors, with an acute connection with the recent sacking of Siddharth Varadarajan of The Hindu, the plot lost its luster towards the climax. What could possibly look like filler in the play, became the climax, as an editor with an experience of 30 years, is ideally meant to address menial concerns with a little more maturity. The performances of every artiste were quite laudable.
The initial groundwork of the play was cemented pretty well by Rahul Khemka (P Krishnamurthy) and Neelakantan (K Naresh Kumar).
It was interesting to watch how Rajeev, the upcoming politician ( played with panache by Yuva Naresh Kumar) joined hands with businessman Manish (impressively done by M Abhishek) took on the civil society group, engrossingly depicted by the duo of Srinivas (P Venkatesh) and feminist Nivedita (Purnima Sriram Iyer).
The narrative about the editor by his team members, Harish (K Sai Kiran), Sukhi (Shree Tarke) and Meera (Prathyusha Pappu) elevated the tempo during the middle of the play which ended with a gripping finish, with the editor throwing up his hands at the state of affairs.