April fool: When a prank turns serious

April fool: When a prank turns serious
Highlights

April fool: When a prank turns serious. Pulling a fast one on friends is a favourite pastime of youngsters.

Pulling a fast one on friends is a favourite pastime of youngsters. It is indeed a great way to bond, a shining example of friendship when a few in a group isolate one among them and take him/her on a wild goose chase, looping a merry-go-round around the ‘bakra’ akin to a sitcom. Trouble is when the joke turns out to be serious and the joker’s reactions move towards an anti-climax!
A similar development forms the crux of April Fool, a Hindi drama staged by Udaan Performing Arts, written in Marathi by Yogesh Soman and translated and directed by Saurabh Gharipurikar. The story revolves around four engineering students who are typical undergrads- carefree, lazy, abusive, prone to petty vices and staying in a room with the photo of a god jostling for space among stills of busty heroines. There is a sleazy film magazine too which the boys take turns to ogle at!
Three of them – Anil (Sunjit Rao), Sirish (Vinayak Raikhelkar) and Rakesh (Avkash Mahanta) - decide to play an ‘April Fool’ prank on Ajay (Tejas Mahajan), the mild-mannered fellow among the four. They fake a scene that his father has come down to visit him and that he is waiting for him in the room, as the latter goes to freshen up. The make-believe atmosphere the three create has an almost psychic impact on Ajay who upon returning to his room, almost believes that his father had actually come, though he had not seen him for more than three years.
While the pals have the fun of their life, peering at their hapless roommate from outside and giggling away while twisting the knife of pleasure further, the hounded friend retaliates on the rebound. Even as the three pranksters wonder if the’ joker’ had lost it, the protagonist lets them into some untold vignettes of his troubled past and how he badly wants to exorcise the ghosts of his unpleasant memories, caused by an insensitive and dictatorial father. Suitably chastised, the fun-seekers are shamed into remorse as their pal experiences a catharsis.
Superb plot alright. Still, the improper arrangement of the set, especially the partitioned room which blocked the view of a section of the viewers sitting on the extreme right side of the venue was a sure dampener. The dialogues were breezy, peppered with usual male talk, but the hyper ventilation of the Haryanvi character played by Rakesh was a trifle overboard.
Tejas Mahajan, the troubled youngster with a more troublesome past was very good throughout till the time the character got the better of him. One would have wished that he modulated his pitch as he goes about ranting. Melodrama thus overshadowed his nuanced attempt, though he walks away with the crown at the end.
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