R.K. Narayan`s `Guide` comes to Indian stage in theatrical avatar

New Delhi: Forty-four years after R.K. Narayan`s literary milestone, ‘Guide’, the love story of tour guide Raju and dancer Rosy, was made into a Broadway musical with a score set by maestro Ravi Shankar, the novel will brought to the Indian stage in an adaptation by Amitabh Shrivastava.

The novel breaks conventions by probing extra-marital romance as its theme, director of the play Sanjoy K. Roy said.

In 1968, the Guide was adapated into a Broadway play by Harvey Breit and Patricia Rinehart and was staged at Hudson Theatre. The play starred Zia Mohyeddin, a Pakistani actor, in the lead as Raju.

The novel, set in Narayan`s fictional town Malgudi, fetched the writer a Sahitya Akademi award in 1960. It was made also into a hit movie in 1965 starring Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman.

The Indian adaptation, a tribute to Narayan, will commemorate the movie by including four popular tracks from it "with contemporary flavour". Composer Anil Shrinivasan, a Chennai-based pianist, is setting the music for the play.

"The play is a dramatised version of the book. The movie was a rather romanticised version. We will recreate the authenticity of the what R.K.Narayan wrote... the circumstances that created the situation. We will try to bring out what actually happened between Raju and Rosy and the relationship between man and his ego," Roy told IANS.

The play also explores protagonist Raju`s journey from a tour guide to a spiritual guide at the point when residents of a village, which Raju visits after his release from jail in a forgery case, look to him for advice and leaves him with no choice "but to join a ceremonial fast with them for rain".

"The `bhakti` of the villagers changes Raju`s life," Roy said.

Roy said Shrivastava and the team had started work on the play "two-and-a-half years ago after acquiring the rights to dramatise the play from Narayan`s family foundation".

"It was beautiful revisiting the book. Everyone must revisit Narayan`s books. He is one of the greatest writers and his story-telling is so simple...," Roy said.

"I am using four popular tracks from the movie - `Aaj phir jeene ki tammana hain`, `Gata rahein mera dil`, `Tere Mere Sapne...` and `Piya Tose Naina Laage Re` - with a contemporary flavour," Anil Shrinivasan told IANS from Chennai.

"The tunes remain the same because we have grown up with the songs," the composer said.

The actors will lip sync the tracks, which will be play-backed by two vocalists. Shrinivasan has lifted some of the tunes from the movie on piano to compose a theme title track, "Rosy 2", to run through the play.

The play, produced Ritu Saigal of the Deva Fine Arts Society and Teamworks Production, will be presented by Jaypee Greens. It will be choreographed by Gilles Chuyen.


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