Mancherji Kauna tells the story of a Parsi family and their two daughters who want to change the world they live in. Told with wit and superb comic timing, this play, based on Adi Marzban’s 1960’s original by the same name, premieres at National Centre of the Performing Arts (NCPA) on August 23.
Directed by Sam Kerawalla the play will be enacted in Gujarati but in the unique way that the Parsi community speaks the language. “The play revolves around the Mehta family and their two grown-up daughters. The younger daughter Pervez wants to change the face of the country while the older daughter Ruby aspires to become a leader like Indira Gandhi. Their aspirations give rise to problems in the Mehta household and lead to a laugh riot,” says Kerawalla.
Kerawalla says the original had to be modified slightly to suit today’s audiences. “Since the play was written in the ‘60s we have tried to bring about changes in the storyline to adapt to modern times while retaining the original flavour,” he says.
Since all dialogues are in Gujarati, special attention was given to the pronunciation and dialogue delivery. “We rehearsed in the evenings after all the actors would come back from their respective day jobs. We made them pen down the whole play in the language they were proficient in, to get their accent correct,” mentions the 85-year-old Kerawalla.
The veteran, who has spent 60 years of his life in theatre, has been directing Marzban’s plays for the last 17 years at NCPA, each year showcasing one of the latter’s classics. “It has been a wonderful journey. I got a chance to work with Marzban and I feel fortunate. I learnt everything about theatre from him and consider him as my teacher. So doing something in his memory is a small contribution from my end.”
The play has an interesting cast. Huzan Wadia is a 27-year-old criminal lawyer by profession and an actor at heart. She plays the role of Viloo, a kind and loving mother who is worried about her daughters and wishes the best for them. “Both my daughters have nagging issues in their life and their social work always land the Mehta household in trouble. All this is disliked by my on stage husband. So I play a mother caught between her husband and rabble rousing daughters,” she adds.
When: August 23, 7 pm onwards
Where: Tata Theatre, NCPA, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point