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Home > Sunday Mid Day News > Bhanvar returns to Prithvi theatre on April 2 and 3 with its 52nd performance

Bhanvar returns to Prithvi theatre on April 2 and 3 with its 52nd performance

Updated on: 24 March,2024 11:15 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Christalle Fernandes |

Bhanvar is about the silent loneliness of a keeping vigil on all days and in all weathers. As the cast gears up for the 52nd edition at Prithvi, we ask them what it means to write and play the old guard

Bhanvar returns to Prithvi theatre on April 2 and 3 with its 52nd performance

Theatron’s Hindi play, Bhanvar, explores the life of watchmen and how loneliness stems from a sense of discomfort in one’s own company

There's a difference between being alone and being lonely,” says Shivraj Waichal, the co-writer of the Hindi play Bhanvar. “We wanted to look at these differences, through a magnifying-glass.” The solo act play is named after its protagonist Bhanvar Singh, the watchman who speaks about his solitary life. The show returns to Prithvi theatre on April 2 and 3, its 52nd performance so far.

Bhanvar was first written in 2015. Actor and director Virajas Kulkarni had just established the theatre group Theatron a few years back, in 2011 in Pune, along with actor Shivraj Waichal, and they were looking to branch out into other forms of performing arts and genres of plays. The Solo Theatre Festival, a competition for solo performances, got them thinking about a play that would require only one performer onstage, who would “break the fourth wall”.

Virajas Kulkarni and Shivraj Waichal
Virajas Kulkarni and Shivraj Waichal

“I used to go for shoots in Film City back then,” Waichal recalls. “Over that period of 15 to 20 days, I observed a watchman and his family outside the set.” The security personnel had a specific routine he followed: eat, sleep, and watch videos. The regularity of the watchman’s schedule, day in and day out, intrigued Waichal, and he used to write down bits and pieces when he returned home. “It took us five days to write and conceptualise this play, and put it together,” Kulkarni interjects. “It was one of those plays which just directed itself.”

Waichal took on the role of the watchman. To immerse himself in the role, however, he notes that its important to distance himself from the character. “From the get-go, when we knew this was going to be a solo performance, we didn’t want to make the audience imagine that the character is talking to other people who are invisible, or someone playing multiple roles. Our aim was to focus on a singular character.” 

While a single character monologuing on stage might be a handicap, the two made it their USP. “What better way to delve into the loneliness of man?” says Waichal. The pandemic impacted the play not in terms of its performance, but in the way the audience reacted to it. Suddenly, after months holed up at home, people were more empathetic to the watchman, who keeps watch in all weathers and all times. “He’s a person who’s not ready to live with himself—he talks to passing trains, vehicles, the highway, the dog,” says Kulkarni. As the play progresses, these elements fade and vanish, and Bhanvar is forced to confront the nature of his solitude. Every performance comes with a twist: a surprise element in the set design post the climax, which keeps audiences coming back to rewatch the play.

WHAT: Thespo@Prithvi—Bhanvar 
WHEN: April 2 and 3, 6 PM and 8 PM 
WHERE: Prithvi Theatre, Juhu 
PRICE: Rs 200

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