IHC Theatre Festival 2023 The Verdict (English /110 mins with interval) Written by Margaret May Hobbs.
Premiered at the Prithvi Theatre Festival in Mumbai. Based on Barry Reed’s novel, ‘The Verdict’, it was turned into a film by Sidney Lumet, starring Paul Newman, James Mason and Charlotte Rampling, which bagged five Academy Awards. Akarsh Khurana directed sports drama film Rashmi Rocket which stars Tapsee Pannu. His notable works are TVF Tripling (as a writer), Yeh Meri Family (actor), Mismatched (as a director) and Krrish (as a supporting screenplay writer). Featuring a star-cast of Adhaar Khurana, Aseem Hattangady, Digvijay Savant, Zafar Karachiwala, Zayn Khan and others.
Akarsh Khurana has done a good job with the Indian adaptation of this iconic play. Whereas the original drama was set in Boston and took on the Church, Khurana places the action in Mumbai and takes on a Godman and his cronies.
Khurana's Anil D'Souza finds unforgivable medical lapses at a charitable hospital run with the 'blessings' of a well-connected Swamiji, and struggles to get justice for his client.
Besides the medical establishment, the play is also an indictment of the power corridors that tightly seal themselves shut to prevent any stench of a misdemeanour out.
One thing that stands out in Khurana's adaptation is the linguistic and cultural references that layer the drama with more relatabilitv. The characters are a microcosm reflecting Mumbai's cosmopolitanism. There's a Christian, a Marathi, a Bohra Muslim, a Bengali, among others. Khurana also adds a layer of immediacy to the drama by adding the Hindi national language debate as well as the issue of minority rights. All in all, the play is gripping, intelligent, and intense, and the conflicts presented in it are as relevant as they were when the original play opened.