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Stage is set for Marathi theatre

With topics ranging from the changing face of media and life in a metropolis to the relevance of Jyotiba Phule’s message, Marathi theatre festival, Pratibimb, organised by NCPA, looks at varied facets of life and society through six powerful plays. Now in its third year, it will span five days, highlighting the depth of Marathi theatre.

Manaswini Lata Ravindra, who was part of the first Pratibimb edition, is excited to be part of the festival once again. She feels this is a great initiative for them to showcase their work. “In Mumbai, there are very few dedicated venues for Marathi theatre, especially for experimental theatre.


A still from the play Shivaji Underground In Bhimnagar Mohalla

We need space to showcase our work to a larger audience. The first year saw a great response, for every play. I hope it is good this time as well,” says Ravindra. Her play, Lakh Lakh Chanderi, is about the changing face of media, and its impact on human relations. It focuses on a struggling actress who has bitter experiences in the film world after which she dissuades her son to enter it, resulting in a strained relationship.

Pramod Kale’s group Maharashtra Cultural Centre from Pune will participate in Pratibimb for the first time. Kale will project two of his plays — Shokaparva and Apoornat Apoornam. “Shokaparva is about the two women in the Mahabharata, Draupadi and Gandhari, and the roles they played in the war. After the war, Draupadi visits Gandhari where they speak about their roles in starting the war and how it was now their responsibility to construct a new yuga (age). I have looked at these two women from a different angle,” he says.

Another interesting play is Shivaji Underground In Bhimnagar Mohalla. Here, the actors hail from a far-flung village in Maharashtra. “Today, Shivaji is associated with Hinduism only; he was a just king who favoured no caste or religion. The manner in which he has been portrayed now is contrary to who he really was. Our political systems have distorted great men’s ideals and the symbols associated with them, for political agendas. This play tries to highlight these aspects,” explains Nandu Madhav, the director of the play, adding that, “Since it has a larger reach, people learn about issues faced in different villages and towns of our country.”

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