Gangster’s paradise

Journey through an exciting escape drama

A scintillating detective thriller set in a Mumbai of the black-and-white era, Detective 9-2-11 (Nau Do Gyaara), directed by Atul Kumar, received an overwhelming response for its gripping, racy, and unique storyline, at the The Hindu Theatre Festival 2018.

A casual evening at legendary Opera House turns into a fast-paced chase for an unsuspecting hero caught in the middle of firing in the theatre.

What ensues are many twists and turns in the plot. The Company Theatre also celebrates its 25th anniversary.

The play will be staged this week. Atul Kumar, who has been praised for his brilliant directorial skills, talks about the play. Excerpts.

What was your inspiration for Detective 9-2-11?

My love for Alfred Hitchcock. I had a desire to put his world on stage. It is also inspired by my huge love for Hindi cinema of the black-and-white era. But in the making of the play, it was very different.

All the actors are trained in physical theatre.

Gangster’s paradise

How old were you when you read or watched your first spy thriller?

I was 16 or 17 when I watched my first Hitchcock film. In fact, I saw a lot of his films in one go at Shakuntalam theatre in Pragati Maidan in Delhi when tickets were sold for ₹2.

I had watched films that I wasn’t supposed to see as I was under-age (laughs). But for 9-2-11, I couldn’t take out my influence of Charlie Chaplin.

I am a huge fan. The acting styles in the play are ‘Chaplin-like’. I think my interest in these films have quietly influenced my directorial style. There is a comic vein that unfolds the story. The play is a simple caper. In fact, it’s like a long chase sequence.

Gangster’s paradise

The sets, costumes and live music have been well-thought out and designed. How did the idea come about? Why did you choose to keep your set mobile?

We wanted a few actors to play many characters. The sets lend itself to that. There is this whole feeling of cinema brought onto stage. There are close-ups and long shots. And the audience find themselves get quickly drawn into the play. The idea for the sets to be on wheels came from a workshop I had conducted with second year students of National School of Drama. The idea originated from them.

Gangster’s paradise

Detective 9-2-11 will be staged at Ranga Shankara from February 12 to February 17. Tickets available on and at the venue.

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