Prince Jacob’s latest offering Uleak Zap Di is an attempt at overkill due to which a golden opportunity to discuss ‘development’ has been fritted away. It also suffers from a hangover of the much acclaimed Kenna Ut’tolo which was supposed to be a wakeup call to Goas.
The premise of inhabitants of an island not wanting a bridge connecting them to the mainland was a golden opportunity to discuss “development” per se in terms of what is needed by the people as against what is thrust upon them by the government that is driven by other considerations including kickbacks and commissions. However, Prince Jacob never gets a grip on this subject and fails to elaborate upon it restricting himself to mere clichés that has come to be the bane of Konkani stage.
In fact, there are contradictions galore in the tiatr which is akin to insulting the intelligence of the audience. For example, even though Libru is married only five months ago she reminds the MLA that he had last visited their village four years back when she was not even living on the island. Her mother-in-law keeps lamenting about changing society where in present times neighbours are strangers and yet in times of crises like the housebreaking incident, the entire ward assembles in the victim’s flat. The MLA bringing the good news to the village and the inhabitants shouting slogans praising him even though they were fighting him, also does not gel well.
In keeping with his practice, Prince Jacob does offer something different in terms of props particularly the three-storeyed building which is also rotated to show the narrow stair case inside and also a flat. The opening chorus is a visual treat with excellent use of the stage and also the different floors of the building.
The cast has done a pretty good job with the roles assigned to them even though some of the characters as mentioned earlier, are not really relevant to the proceedings. Edward D’Souza is a true gem of a find and promises to delight tiatrists for a very long time as he not only has the talent to act and sing but has also maintained his physique quite well and is appealing to the eye. However, Sonia, yet another debutant, has a long way to go as she has to brush her acting skills thoroughly.
Uleak Zap Di has some entertaining songs including the duet on true love. However, the trio on train to Valankani was presented in an amateurish manner.
The fact that the late evening show was packed to capacity at Ravinda Bhawan proves the clout enjoyed by Prince Jacob in attracting the audience. However, if only he had to use his intelligence to give the tiatr a different twist he would have done yeomen service in educating the literate but uneducated Catholics who flock to tiatrs.