Apart from its theme of the dynamics of a live-in relationship – which is currently in focus in newsrooms and court rooms, Prakaran Pahile has created a lot of buzz due to various reasons.
The production of 43-year-old theatre group Awishkar where Arvind and Sulabha Deshpande, Jaydev and Rohini Hattangady, Shreeram Lagoo, Amol Palekar, Om Puri, Sai Paranjpe and Nana Patekar honed their skill, will be staged on Monday at the National Centre for the Performing Arts’ annual theatre festival Centrestage.
Sushma Deshpande, who has written and directed the 90-minute play, is playing Jeeja a 55-year-old writer whose boyfriend, Eknath, dies in her house. Jeeja sends the body to his wife, who wants to place the traditional lamp in the place where Eknath died. She sends her son Ravi, played by Suhas Sirsat, to Jeeja’s house. The play unravels through Ravi and Jeeja’s exchanges of conversation. “Though my association with theatre is over three decades, I am taking to the stage after 10 years. So I’ve been very tense,” admits Deshpande. “Without getting judgmental, the play tugs at emotions.”
Arun Kakade, 83, reminisces the past. “The audiences have always been discerning and look for takeaway from even their entertainment. So plays were a huge hit. Double entendre farces had driven audiences away. But now tired of the same hackneyed fare on both the big screen and small, there seems to be a renewed interest in theatre,” says Kakade.
Awishkar has always taken risks. Even during the Emergency, when both theatre and cinema experienced a clampdown, it continued to question the government through plays like Juloos and Antigone, says Kakade.
With over 200 successful productions, including Chitragoshti, Baya Daar Ughad and Durga Zhali Gauri (which ran for 29 years), Awishkar has always encouraged young writers and directors.
“Whether it’s a small production for a school or at a venue like NCPA, the energy one brings to the play is the same,” adds Kakade.
Perhaps a reason why Prakaran Pahile is not to be missed.
(On December 2nd at Experimental Theatre at 7 pm)
It’s a 43-year-old theatrical journey
Awishkar’s debut show, Tughlaq, had over 75 artistes, grand sets and costumes, a first for a Marathi theatre group. Another milestone was the eight-and-a-half-hour show of the Wada Chirebandi trilogy