A play performed in three languages -- Gujarati, Hindi and English -- by the same actor on the same day looks set to wow all you theatre junkies
How much do we know about Mahatma Gandhi’s life as a five-year-old? The play Mohan’s Masala takes a look at the life of a young Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi before he became Mahatma Gandhi. “When you are working on a play about Gandhiji, a lot of material and data available about his life. However, even in his autobiography, just a few pages are dedicated to his life between age five and 22. Even from the little information available, I felt that those founding years were key to developing the qualities that led him to become the Mahatma,” reasons director Manoj Shah. “For instance, we began with his life in Porbandar. The writer Ishan Doshi and I looked at all events that took place in Porbandar during that time including the opening of a canal. These cross-references helped us develop the story.
Pratik Gandhi in scenes from Mohan Masala which feature paintings by artist Atul Dodiya as the backdrop
The play ends with the infamous train incident in South Africa,” he adds. Shah tells us that the play was recently, performed at Sabarmati Jail followed by a performance in Dubai. “The play has something in it for everyone. Audiences at both venues were touched. You can find glimpses of interpersonal relationships and everyday life in the story. Mohan’s stay in South Africa and London during his student years is something most NRIs identified with. Gandhi talks to the audience from the present day,” says Shah.
The play, originally written in English, was first performed in Mumbai in November 2015. Shah then adapted the play to be performed in his mother tongue, Gujarati. After its initial shows in Gujarati, owing to a demand from corporates and schools, the play was made in Hindi to reach a larger audience. “We performed in English in Kolkata and Hindi in Madhya Pradesh. It helped us reach a wider audience. This time, we decided to go ahead and perform in all three languages, back-to-back in a first-of-its-kind experience, and also apply to be featured in the Limca Book Of Records, says Shah adding that the solo act required Pratik Gandhi (who plays Mohan) to work extremely hard on his language skills. He admitted that it will present a challenge for him when he performs tomorrow. The 1 hour 40 minute play features original music rendered by Parthiv Gohil and a simple set has been designed by Atul Dodiya who has exhibited his paintings of Gandhi in various countries.
On: June 10
Time: 12 pm (Gujarati); 6 pm (Hindi); 9 pm (English)
At: Prithvi Theatre, 20, Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road, Juhu.