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Issue 1 | February 1, 2013 | Invitation Edition | www.mytheatrecafe.

com

THE MAN
WHO RULES
A Rendezvous with Dr. Mohan Agashe
With over half of his life lived effortlessly on the stage, Padmashree Dr. Mohan Agashe can, safely, be called the last word of Marathi Theatre. Having introduced the GRIPs theatre form in the country, he is one of the rare names that has not just witnessed but experienced the various transitions of theatre in India. Presenting realism with a wit has always been the special feature of this artist cum Psychiatrist. At 65, Dr. Agashes recent plays Katkon Trikon and Aadhe Adhure have hit me a jackpot, in his own words. Recently presided the 93rd Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Natya Sammelan in Baramati, Dr. Agashe gets candid with Neha Ghatpande and Rashmi Kulkarni on theatre, gen-next and life. Interview on Page 2....

THE STAGE

INSIDE
CAF RENDEZVOUS CENTRE STAGE CAF CANVAS CAFE CRITIQUE

Pt.Vijay Ghate opens his heart out about his life, passion for music,new event Taalchakra and his beloved Guruji to Theatre Caf.

A detail overview of the 5th International Theatre Festival of Kerala and on going 34th Yatri Hindi Theatre Festival of Mumbai.

A photo feature of the 100th show of Satyashodhak: a biographical play on the life of caste crusader of 19th century Mahatma Jyotirao Phule.

Review of the new English play Blame It on Yashraj directed by Bharat Dabholkar and Marathi experimental play Kettakatha.

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Caf e RENDEZVOUS
From Page 1...
We recently experienced a huge applause at your entry on the stage in one of your shows of Katkon Trikon. After spending over five decades performing on the stage, does this reaction still enthrall you? Of Course! Its very egoboosting. But to be honest, when you are right about to enter the stage as a character in the play, it disturbs you, especially when you are aware that the audience claps for Mohan Agashe, not the character that he is playing. The audience understands the character only after watching the performance for a while. When I am on stage I want the audience to experience the character that I am playing. Not for myself, but for the audience, I have to forget who I am and enter a new character. Theatre is a live game. Hence this is a paradox of theatre. It comforts and disturbs at the same time. What drives you to continue theatre even after so many years? I cannot say what drives me; just as one can never understand where soul comes from in a body. I believe that each and every person is acting most of the times. It is a natural trait of humans; its just that I happen to take it forward. It works like a defence mechanism for us. I was lucky to have been in the company of great artists like Jabbar (Patel) and Satish (Alekar). This group sustained and nurtured my acting skills, so I continued. How different is the work culture today as compared to your initial acting days? The way todays generation perceives all relationships has changed. The artists of today are too professional. So much that they have become two different persons within themselves. Their relationship with surrounding and time has changed. When I go to the rehearsals, I am Mohan Agashe all the time. Todays generation has compartmentalised everything. There is no personal touch to their work. The young generation is a different species; they want to live 60 years in 30 so that they live 100 in 60. But my perception is different. I want to live 30 years in 30. When all of us want to excel, what is the hurry! is performed abroad. But they cannot as there are no funds. In India, theatre survives as it is a passion, not a profession. You brought the GRIPs theatre to the country. What is your view on the childrens theatre in India today? When we introduced the GRIPs theatre in India, it was a platform for the children with the children. Plays such as Nako Re Baba, Pan Amhala Khelaychay were realistically related to the experiences of children. There is a need of such exceptional plays today; plays that can become a mental diet for the children. There is too much of fantasy involved in childrens plays done today. Fantasy is necessary as well, but it should not deviate from realism. Which plays and artists that you watched in the recent years have been remarkable? The Marathi theatre has maintained its exceptional performances. I find every play from Satish Alekar, Vijay Tendulkar, Shekhar Phansalkar to the young

playwrights Vivek Bele, Shafahat Khan and Sachin Kundalkar equally remarkable. We have been lucky to witness varied flows of theatre since its inception. The young artists such as Mohit Takalkar, Nipun Dharmadhikari, Alok Rajwade, Madan Deodhar and many others are creating impeccable theatre. Their theatre is different than ours as their experience of living is very different. Their plays, their stories, their theatre are their way to rebel. Tell us about the plays that you always wanted to be a part of. (Chuckles) The neighbours wife always looks more beautiful! So the characters that I dont play always look more attractive to me. On a serious note, some of the characters played by veterans like Chandrakant Kale and Nasser (Nasseruddin Shah) attract me a lot. There are two characters that I wished to play- the character of chor (thief) in the Hindi play Charandas Chor and the main character in the English play Father by August Strindberg.

You have traveled across the world and experienced different forms of theatre. How different is the theatre in India, especially the genre of experimental theatre? There is no such thing as experimental theatre. Its just a perception. In Marathi, we call every show as prayog- an experiment. In India, there are two types of theatre- regional and English. The regional theatre, especially Marathi, does not receive good sponsorships and hence it is economical. There are artists who want to make it visually strong, like the Broadway that

The Rhythmic Life of Pandit Vijay Ghate


Pt. Vijay Ghate the only tabla player, who is adept accompanying all the three streams of music- vocal, instrumental and dance, gives Neha Ghatpande a glimpse of his musical journey.
Photo Courtesy: Pt.Vijay Ghate

Vijay, a two and a half-yearold boy heard his mother humming an old Marathi song in his family house in Jabalpur. Capturing the rhythm instantly while clapping his hand on the first beat of the Tala, he left his mother surprised as she thought that his sense of timing was a coincidence. Within no time she was forced to believe that it was more than guesswork as Vijay stayed tuned to the rhythm even when she started changing the songs. This incidence led to a discussion between Vijays parents, about his potentials. To try out his little ones talent, Vijays father gave him two cans of sway soap- a famous brand of that time.Vijay started to play with them like a tabla without missing the rhythm. When Pt.Vasantrao Deshpande was in Jabalpur for a performance, he spared a moment to see Vijays talent. Observing Vijays fingers move smoothly on the small tabla, he asserted to Vijays parents, give him appropriate knowledge and nurture his talent. Thus began the journey of a maestro- Pt.Vijay Ghate. Born and raised in Jabalpur, he was just another pupil learning table, but was not serious about it. While he narrates his musical

experiences with a childlike excitement, one can feel the humbleness in Pt. Ghates voice and honesty in his words When I was 13 years old, just like any other teenager, I did not bother much about my talents. But that time Ustad Zakir Hussain came to my city and performed for three days. Honestly, he zapped me, he mesmerized me; his performance touched me so much that I started learning tabla seriously and today it is because of him, I am capable of giving this interview to you, he confesses. 49-year-old Pt.Ghate learned tabla from Pt. Suresh Talwalkar by living with him for almost 10 to 12 years. Eventually, the existence of tabla came next to his pulse and this leaves evidence in his words as he says that Tala- the Rhythm is everywhere; it is in every one of us. Our heart beats in a certain rhythm, its speed increases when we are angry or it becomes slower when we are at peace. Rhythm completes the lifecycle, he adds. With this thought Pt.Ghate has started a movement to promote percussionists and named his event Taalchakra-cycle of a rhythm. The Taalchakra held during January 24 and 27 saw

some of the best percussionists including Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pt. Suresh Talwalkar perform in the Pune city. Having played tabla for almost all his life, performing with all the stalwarts and being named the only tabla player who is adept accompanying all the three streams of musicvocal, instrumental and dance, Pt.Ghate believes that not knowing everything about music drives me in my life. I am overwhelmed when people sum up my profile this way because I have always believed that God has given me an opportunity to be a musician. There is so much to learn. I am always focusing on what I dont know. Deep down in my mind I have this urge of learning more, he expresses humbly. Reminiscing his journey, Pt. Ghate regards his Guru Pt.Suresh Talwalkar at the top, saying, he did not just give me a technique to become a tabla player but taught me manners of a musicians and how to accompany all the streams of music. He has shown me the path on which I will keep walking with honesty. Indebted to his Gurus contribution in his life, the table maestro signs off addressing Pt. Talwalkar as my everything.

Kerala Theatre festival: A contemporary treat


Photo Courtsey: ITFoK

Caf e CENTER- STAGE

Contemporary plays and performances in the International Theatre Festival of Kerala

Nisha Ravindranathan
Beyond the small clusters of impatient theatre-goers and surrounding vendors hawking peanuts and soft drinks at the gate, the happy collision of strangers performers, volunteer and a queue that stretches snakelike from the ticket counter across the lush grounds of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi campus was an atmosphere filled with excitement for the 5th edition of International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK 2013) took place in Thrissur, Kerala, between January 15 to 22nd. The festival featured some

of the best contemporary national and international productions, a panorama of modern yet local productions, several theatre workshops by visiting practitioners and a series of academic lectures and seminars. There was also a special section dedicated to showcasing traditional performances, all packed into eight short, action-filled days. Looking at the huge response one must say the ITFok has become one of the prominent theatre festivals in the country along with the National School of Dramas (NSD) Bharat Ranga Mahotsav Theres been a tendency to compare ITFoK with

NSDs annual Bharat Rang Mahotsav since 2010, Festival Coordinator, Kesavan Nambudiri said, Probably because ITFok too, is as much about showcasing a large and varied selection of plays, both from India and abroad. For instance, this year, significantly, we had 14 foreign productions from total of 31 plays showcased. One could also see undeniably, that the festival has grown immensely and is still growing. Plays such as the installationesque Automatorium, dance theatre concept This is My Body, Come Into My Mind, bold adaptations of Shakespeare such as

HamletMachine and Indian Tempest, Gajab Kahani staged partly in Marathi and partly gibberish and the dreamlike and haunting after the silence and epic-inspired dance-drama Ravanama, told us instantly, what Mr. Nambudiri is quick to highlight about ITFoK; that there was a noticeable representation of young and new directors both from India and abroad in the festival. The general curatorial approach, he said, was in fact, to showcase more innovative and experimental work, for this is also, more and more, the sensibility of Keralite audiences. Since 2008 when

ITFok started, we have noticed that local audiences tend to favour more non-verbal theatre, even when scripts are in Malayalam. And one neednt look too far either, to seek out the evidence of such preferences. Once inside the theatre, all the world reduces to a stage, Is it any wonder then, that so many groups hope to be invited back here again? Nisha Ravindranathan (writer) is a freelancer & has a post-graduate degree in Shakespeare and Theatre from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford. She is currently based in Kerala.

Journeys of Expressions Yatri Theatre Festival 2013


Udayan Dhar
For theatre enthusiasts in Mumbai, Om Katare is not a name unknown. He founded Yatri - a theatre group, in 1979 to provide wholesome and meaningful entertainment to the theatre audience. The month of January saw the group celebrating its 34th anniversary with a ten day theatre festival featuring some of its blockbuster plays such as Gaj Foot Inch, Yeh Jo Dil hai Na, Raavanleela and Chinta Chhod Chintamani. At a time when Hindi theatre was passing through a difficult phase, Yatri surprised theatre audiences by coming up with an ingenious mix of comedies, social commentaries, satires, classics etc. Hailing from a small town called Datia in Madhya Pradesh, Om Katare came up with a group dedicated to the cause of Hindi theatre. The initial years were a struggle. With no funds or sponsors, Om Katare went on to produce and direct his first play Ek Tha Gadha in 1979. It was Yatris good fortune to have got encouragement from the late Jennifer Kapoor and Dharamsey Merchant (the manager of Prithvi Theatre at that time). Since then, the group has produced 60 full-length plays, has had over 5000 shows till date, conducted 27 annual Festivals at Prithvi Theatre, Juhu, imparted training to over 500 aspiring actors and organized 20 Theatre Workshops for both adults and children. The plays were staged from January 22 to 27 at Prithvi as well as other prestigious city-venues and the festival will continue for four days in the month of February. According to Om Katare, the director of Yatri, This festival is dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the Indian woman. Five new platform performances (nukkad natak) will be staged at Prithvi during the festival. These performances include social satires, comedies, and live musical renditions. One of the highlights of the festival was Kahan Surakshit Hain Hum, a hard-hitting portrayal of exploitation and brutality that Indian women are subjected to in our society. Five women from different strata of our society recount their horrors in this play, and ask us: Where are we safe in this country? Gaj Foot Inch dealt with the deeper emotions of a shy, adolescent Tillu who has never encountered love in life. Still he emerges a winner because Jugni (his fianc) accepts him the way he is. The situation becomes hilarious when the father starts to teach Tillu about ways to impress a girl. Yeh Jo Dil Hai Na is the Hindi adaptation of Vasant Kanetkars famous Marathi play Prema
A still from Kahan Surakshit Hain Hum, play staged in the festival
Photo Courtsey: Yatri Festival

Om Katare
Director, Yatri Theatre Festival

Tuza Rang Kasa by Mir Muneer which has completed 50 years. In Raavanleela, much hilarity and confusion prevails when a village production of `Ramleela` goes horribly wrong. The festival also featured a 25 minute live concert by Naviin Gandharv and his team. Naviin Gandharv, a young multitalented musician played the unique instrument called as

Belabaharr and the Tabla with equal passion and dexterity with his own distinct style which was a typical blend of the traditional and creative music developed from his mentors legendary Ustad Allarakha and Pt. Babulal Gandharv (the creator of the Belabaharr). Udayan Dhar (writer) is the Editor-in-Chief of the Pink Pages Magazine. 3rd FEB13 AT 8 P.M. 10th FEB13 AT 7.30 P.M. 17th FEB13 AT 8 P.M. 24th FEB13 AT 6.30 P.M.

This festival is dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the Indian woman. Five new platform performances (nukkad natak) will be staged at Prithvi during the festival. These performances include social satires, comedies, and live musical renditions.

CHINTA CHHOD CHINTAMANI RAAVANLEELA RAAVANLEELA CHINTA CHHOD CHINTAMANI

SAVARKAR SMARAK, DADAR RANGSHARDA, BANDRA SAVARKAR SMARAK, DADAR EX. TATA THEATRE (NCPA)

Cafe CANVAS

Satyashodhak: A celebration of truth

Satyashodhak, a play written by veteran playwright G P Deshpande enfolds the thought process of anti caste crusader of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and his tryst to live the truth that he perceived. Satyashodhak was a journey, started by Pune Municipal Corporation Workers Union and director Atul Pethe. Taking along amateurs, safai karmachari and rustic musicians, this play proved to be a nostalgic yet relevant experience for the audience. This play was staged across Maharashtra and even some part of India such as New Delhi and completed 101 shows from April 2012 to January 2013. While talking about this journey, Pethe expressed, Satyashodhak has completed 101 shows. This journey gave us an opportunity to look at theatre, society and life itself with a new perspective. But its 100th play which took place in the Phule Wada(where Mahatma Phule lived) on January 3, the day when almost a century ago Savitribai, wife of Phule started a first school for girls was a distinctive celebration of theatre, a beginning of revolution and Phules ideology. Photographer Shriram Patki enfolds this dramatic composition through his lens on Caf Canvas.

A scene depicts Peshvas and how they were engrossed in entertainment rather than ruling the state

A tale of grief: Victims of caste dominance narrate their story in the play

The opening shot: shahirs narrating the story of Mahatma Phule through powadas

Towards the Bright Future: Mahatma Phule (played by Omkar Gowardhan) telling the people that the future of society is dependant on the truthseekers

Humiliating Act: A scene Savitribai Phule (played by Parna Pethe) reacts after being humiliated by a group of brahmins after starting first school for girls

A need of time: Magazine for Theatre


Dr. Ajay Joshi
Three
youngsters stepped into my office, bubbling with zest and a hope in their eyes, inviting me to write for their newly launched e-journal, dedicated entirely to theatre. And adding on their plans to bring some of the issues in print. Had I heard right? A magazine dedicated to theatre? Did this not ring bells of similar sentiments voiced over the years and aborted attempts of this genre of journalism. Not being sceptical but definitely wary, I didnt intend to dampen their enthusiasm, but surely sat back to contemplate on the plight and the unsuccessful run of many such Exclusive for theatre Magazines and Journals. I started by asking few questions but ended up with tsunami of unanswered issues and hiccups in this endeavour. In these musings I dont intent to encompass similar exercise across India, but restrict to the ones carried out in Maharashtra or the ones I have personally being associated with. With a touch of caution, I admit that I have no scholarly research to back my observationssomething that is the dire need of the time- but definitely have been witness to many such botched attempts. At one end this trepidation, but at the other I am tempted to look back and trace the contribution of such writings to the theatre movement. Has it really been contributing or just a fancy of some scholars and publishers, to the theatre movement? An enormous quantum of work has been penned, both through journalistic writings in Newspapers and Magazines and scholarly expression through books. This reference material has been useful in laying the foundation for a comprehensible understanding of a period in theatre that is now the past. These have been in terms of reviews, critical writings, interviews, books etc, by scholars and thinkers in the earlier times like Madhav Manohar, Dyaneshwar Nadkarni, V.Y Gadgil, Pushpa Bhave, Kamlakar Nadkarni, Raja Karle, Madhav Kulkarni, Padmakar Kulkarni, R.G Sardesai, V.B Deshpande and others. There writings were valued by both the theatre fraternity and the casual readers. The torch bearers of the next generation that kept the flame alive were noted writers like Mangesh Tendulkar, Madhav Vaze, Sureshchandra Padhye, Prasannakumar Aklujkar etc. They contributed primarily to Newspapers, magazines and specialised journals. A host of other litterateurs like R.S Walimbe, K.Narayan Kale, V.D Kulkarni, G.K Bhatt and many others pitched in through their writings on theatre in books. This was a time when there was a reader for such inputs. Also theatre was a main source of entertainment. With passing times and the advent of cinema and television the equations changed. Compounding this was the changing socio-political, economic and cultural changes that the country went through. With liberalisation and globalization the scenario changed drastically. Policy matters of media, dwindling space for theatre writings, dearth of scholarship in the arts, a fast-track and techno savvy generation and a poor reader to this form of writing sealed the fate of any attempts at revival. Currently writings related to theatre are confined to newspapers and few periodicals. However they dont do much justice as they are limited to the form of reviews touching upon appraisal. Yet critics like Jayant Pawar, Ravindra Pathare, Shanta Gokhale and a few others try to cover theatre activities to best of their capacity. These are primarily restricted to the theatre activities in the urban cities and a large body of work, especially in the rural belts and small towns goes unnoticed. In the past couple of years there have been stray exceptions of well researched and authentic writing on theatre. All these factors have a direct impact on the sustenance of magazines or any such outlets catering to theatre. Important contributors such as Samvedana Pariwar, Natak, Seagull Theatre Quarterly, Natyarang etc had to shut shop and wind up for lack of funds , a dedicated reader and off course a guaranteed buyer. Some attempts, like the one recently made by the Achrekar Prathisthan in Kankawli, to start a theatre magazine, was nipped in the bud, much before it could take off. One thing is indisputable. No matter how much they are shunned, these writings are an important link of the past to the present and a guideline to the future. Their presence bridges gaps. Presently there are some newspapers which give some space for reviews, primarily in the vernacular, some sporadic autobiographical books written by artistes, few e-magazines and surprisingly considerable amount of documentaries on theatre artistes, which is welcome. But these are not necessarily scholarly writings or ones

Ca fe PERSPECTIVE

with archival values. A large amount of work is not taken cognisance of, not because of any bias, but just that there is no guaranteed outlet for documenting it all. There is a dire shortage of writers who take interest in this type of writing, let alone their personal knowledge and interest in the art of theatre. Against this realisation, newer strategies will have to be devised and put into place, along with a committed team to see it through. Mere passion and a fervent appeal to float another such venture will not work. We have to learn from past mistakes and design the future. And this doesnt refer to the mere task of the physically bringing out a magazine or journal dedicated exclusively to theatre, but stringing in all the contributing elements, to weave a firm pattern, which will sustain. It is not an impossible task, but needs solid ground work and a firm belief in its success! Dr. Ajay Joshi is a practicing dentist, with a PhD in theatre criticism and an MA in Journalism and Mass Communication. He has freelanced as a theatre journalist for publications like Times of India, Indian Express, Saakal, PtNotes, Himal etc. He is involved in theatre as a media person, organiser, coordinator, judge and teacher.

A wordsmith in the making: Dharmakirti Sumant


The sahitya academy youth award winner Sumant is one of those called as the future of Marathi theatre.
Nitin Brahme
I started writing because the plays that could shatter me did not exist, expressed Dharmakirti Sumant, a young play writer who recently won the Sahitya Academy youth award. Sumant is one of the names of those who are the future of the Marathi experimental theater. Sumant (25) has been awarded with the Sahitya Academy youth award for his playwright book Pani, which includes two plays Pani and Charoo Aro Etyadi. The book was published on 2011 by Popular Publications. Some of his playes have already become popular amongst youngsters. I had an idea of a certain world in my mind, a world that did not exist in the reality and in the writing. That is why I started writing, added Sumant who received the Vinod Doshi Fellowship for his writings in 2009. Explaining his writings further, Sumant said, Initially I wrote to show what I am. Gradually my conditioning was reflected in my works. wrote Geli Ekvis Varshe which was my own story. My writing has evolved from these stages. Among the other popular plays that Sumant wrote are Logging Out, Something Stupid Like I love You, Geli Ekvis Varshe- a play that received the Jayvant Dalvi Award, Amhala Amche, Kholamba, Zade Lavnara Manoos and Natak Nako. Sumant has also written an eight part series Jadyabaddalchi Vyavcchedak Lakshne in the magazine Priya Rasik by Popular Publications. With his hands full with the story of film Monologues on writer Mahesh Elkunchvar with Vaibhav Abnave and Anand Chabukswar, Sumant said that he has also written a script with Nipun Dharmadikari for the famous director Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra. Informing that he is currently studying the script writing course at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Sumant concluded that we need more good places for experimental theater.

Cafe CURTAIN RAISER

Dharmakirti Sumant

After all this, I was exhausted with the theatre circle and out of that desperation I

A quirky tale of Marriage A tale of existence


Blame it on Yashraj Writer & Director: Bharat Dabholkar Cast: Anant Mahadevan, Jayati Bhatia, Anchal Sabharwal, Punit Tejwani, Smita Hai, Gaurav Sharma, Palash Dutta, Neel Gagdani weddings into a mere sixday affair. It makes poignant observations about how families are settling for weddings which are remotely connected to their own roots and resemble more of an inordinate affair where commerce and ego play a vital role than emotions and sentiments. Ananth Mahadevan is a Punjabi married to a Bengali, played ably by Jayati Bhatia. Mahadevans family is as identifiable as todays cosmopolitan families, which derive comfort in being considered ultra-modern. His daughter played by Anchal Sabharwal falls in love with a Muslim boy. The whole laughter riot begins when the girls family meets the boys family. Mahadevan takes us through various emotional journeys the very difficulty of being a doted father who refuse to acknowledge that his daughter can choose an able life partner, the travesty of wedding rituals, the corruptible influence of commerce, the breaching of sanctity of marriage in becoming focal points of egos of various members of both families and lastly, the cheerful acceptance by both the families. Unquestionably, Mahadevan forms the fulcrum of the play right from setting the tone of the play to its achieving crescendo in terms of strong performances by his co-performers. The boys father played by Gaurav Sharma, is also an amiable character who stands out distinctly due to various anecdotal humours and makes the scenario lighter in midst of serious deliberations by both the families. Using these characters, Dabholkar pokes fun at typical tendencies among people different communities such as strange and illrhyming pet names of their kids, deep-seated religious and political prejudices, scant understanding of various rituals of ones own marriages. Also use of videos in the backdrop and peppy music by Louis Banks makes the play more engaging. Despite these factors, the plays concluding part is a tedious watch. With long dance performances, which could have been trimmed and shortened, the viewer becomes impatient and is restless to see the end. But what distinguishes the play from most comedies is the freshness it brings in our way of looking at us. Kettakatha Director: Suraj Parasnis and Shivraj Waichal Writer: Abhiram Joshi Cast: Virajas Kulkarni, Ketan Pawar , Kshitish Date, Dnyanada Panse, Kaumudi Walokar, Shivraj Waichal, Siddhesh Purkar.

Ca fe CRITIQUE

Dr. Sameer Mone


Questioning the very existence of a person in the realm of society has been a subject well handled in Indian theatre. Veteran playwrights right from Badal Sarkar, Indrajit to Vijay Tendulkar, Satish Alekar and Mahesh Elkunchwar have discussed the issue of existencialism through their plays but a new play Kettakatha can be called as the fresh take on the same subject. Kettakatha literally means a structured story. Directed by Suraj Parasnis and Shivraj Waichal, this play is a poignant tale of young minds and the issues that they face. The play begins when the protagonist gets a call from the call centre informing him about the exciting career options that he can choose and he falls for the ambition of becoming a writer. His ambition churns out four stories that come alive in the form of a play.

Vinayak Naidu
Humour can be evocative but when humour is draped in irony it brings out the deep-seated prejudices and presumptions in us. Satire is used as a powerful ingredient in humour to convey a message. This is evident in a new English play, Blame It On Yashraj by Bharat Dabholkar. Through various incisive observations of several aspects of our society it attempts to bring out the idiosyncrasies of different Indian cultures in a delightful humorous way. Taking a leaf from grand wedding ceremonies shown in Yash Chopra and Sooraj Barjatya films, the theme of the play celebrates the homogeneousness of Indian

Every story told in this play touches upon the issues that we face in the society today. A moment comes in all of our lives when we take a look at the decisions that we made and their consequences. It is easy to relate to each and every character as it gives one a feeling that their thoughts are getting a voice through the character. One story is about a boy living in slums and dealing with poverty, second story depicts the sexual frustration of a girl who is married yet forced to live separately from her husband. Third story is of a Muslim woman engaged in imagining how the world would be without any religion. The final story is about a youngster living a mundane life and is bewildered about What exactly career is? The performances by all the actors are apt and energetic. The highlight of the play lies in the outstanding light direction and set design, helping the stories create impact. However, the indications and references in the narration of the play sound outdated. Whether the writer of this play has purposefully written the narration in an old style remains unclear. At the end, Kettakatha definitely leaves audience with a satisfaction of having experienced a good play.

STRUGGLING FOR A STAGE


Nitin Brahme
Pune is known to be the cultural capital of Maharashtra where the art of theatre performance, especially, finds its true meaning with an array of actors, directors and writers performing on its land. But today, a much discussed project of an auditorium for experimental theater in the heart of the city is waiting to get funds while the artists are struggling for a stage. Since 12 years, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is building an auditorium for experimental theater, short films and childrens theater at Ghole road. Situated opposite the Mahatma Phule Museum, the green cover of Shivajinagar gives it a peaceful surrounding. But the project is stuck in the governmental red tape in such a way that in place of theater

Cafe REPORT

Veteran pianist and musician

and paintings, now the offices of the PMC authorities acquire the place. Mayor Vaishali Bankar has appointed one expert committee to decide how to use this place and I am sure that the auditorium will open in the next two months, said Dipti Chavdhary, Member of Legislative Council (MLC) and ex-Mayor of PMC. The project was sanctioned in the year 2001 and the construction has been started since 2003. With a project design of two art galleries, 250 to 300 chair theatre, projector room for short films, green room, science hall, library, cafeteria and play area for children, this auditorium was a dream for many theatre personalities. So far, PMC has spent around Rs 7 crore and yet only one art gallery has been opened.

Senior cartoonist Mangesh Tendulkar, also a member of advisory committee, said, I got a letter from PMC four months ago and I accepted membership of the advisory committee. But till today, not a single meeting has been conducted. As per my opinion, the PMC does not have any interest in the auditorium and art galleries. A few months ago, the PMC authorities started to occupy space for their offices. I spoke to everyone but the PMC is apathetic. When contacted, the PMC sources said that the sealing work, acoustic work and work of air conditioning is still going on. In the budget of 20122013 the PMC has allocated Rs 80 lakh, which is insufficient and an excess of Rs 1.5 crore will be needed to complete the work. Kiran Yadnyopavit, a well known theater personality and filmmaker said, The then PMC commissioner Nitin Karir had invited Amol Palekar, Satish Alekar, Ashok Kulkarni, Makarand Sathe, Atul Pethe and representative of each and

Incomplete aditorium dedicated to experimental theatreat Ghole road

every theater groups of Pune for a meeting for the project. The meeting concluded with the decision that this auditorium to be made into a habitat for experimental theater. Even veteran playwright Vijay Tendulkar visited the site and congratulated the architect of the project for such great work. During that time the civil work of the project was on the last stage. I wonder why the project is still pending. Interestingly, the PMC has opened the Sahitya Samrat Vijay Tendulkar Natyagruha at Parvatidarshan which was built later while the auditorium

that Tendulkar visited first remains incomplete.

Mangesh Tendulkar
Senior cartoonist

I got a letter from PMC four months ago and I accepted membership of the advisory committee. But till today, not a single meeting has been conducted. As per my opinion, the PMC does not have any interest in the auditorium and art galleries.

Pandit Ramesh Narayan, vocalist from Kerala, known as the torch bearer of Mewati Gharana, conducted a continuous recital of Hindustani Classical music for record breaking 36 hours, on January 19. The recital was held at the Shantaram pond in the premises of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and it concluded on the evening of January 20. Pt.Narayan hails from a family of Carnatic musicians settled at Kuthuparambu near Kannur, North Kerala and was awarded the Kerala Sangeet Natak Academy Award last year for his contribution in Indian

Classical Music. Pt.Narayan presented the vocal recital in accordance with the samayachakra of ragas, as an act of embodying the spirit and essence of Hindustani classical music. Being a pupil of Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj and preferred inaugurating the event by taking his gurus blessings over phone, Pt. Narayan dedicated this event to Paramgurus, legends and leaders of the past and present of Indian and World music as well as other art forms world literature and science and social reform. And so, the backdrop on the stage illustrated pictures of 136 luminaries ranging from Gangubai Hangal, Begum Akhtar to V. Shantaram and from Ram Ganesh Gadkari to Charlie Chaplin, Hitchcock to Einstein through Bimal Roy, G. Arvindan,Lokmanya Tilak and so on.

Veteran pianist and musician Christopher Norton at the festival in Pune.

The Academy of Music, Koregaon Park proudly hosted the first ever Christopher Norton Piano festival in India from January 11 to 13. Nortons performance made it a weekend to remember for the festival participants. Christopher Norton is a New Zealand born British pianist and is known in the world music industry as a composer, producer, arranger and educationalist. He has written stage musicals, ballet scores, piano music, popular songs and orchestral music as well

as jingles and signature tunes for TV and radio. The unique three day event featured invigorating improvisation groups where the students of all levels and ages improvised and jammed with the composer. Each group was followed by master classes which were positively inspirational learning experiences with the students working with the composer on one of his works. Norton also presented three engaging workshops entitled Getting started keeping it

going, Getting Vertical, and Unlocking popular styles. The events culminated with a gala recital on the final day featuring every one of the 62 festival participants in improved groups and several participants individually selected by the composer to play his solo works. The festival drew 62 participants from Pune, Bangalore and Mumbai. This was a one of its kind event that enabled students to enjoy popular music making in a non competitive environment.

Cafe PREVIEW
MUMBAI
The Bureaucrat (English) NCPA, Nariman Point February 2, 2013 7pm CHAI N WHY (English) Prithvi Theatre Juhu February 3, 2013 11:00 am SALAAM.. 1950S KE NAAM (Hindi) Prithvi Theatre Juhu February 2 &3, 2013 6:00 pm & 9:00 pm Chapha (Marathi) NCPA, Nariman Point February 7 06:30 pm Death of a Salesman (English) NCPA, Nariman Point February 9 & 10 07:30 pm RAAVANLEELA (Hindi) Rangsharda Auditorium Bandra(w) February 10, 2013, 7:45 pm PRITAM PYARE PAPPUJI (Hindi) Sivaswamy Auditorium Chembur February 10, 2013,7:45 pm

SHYAMPRIYA (Hindi) Prabodhankar Thackrey Auditorium Borivali(w) February 14, 2013, 8:45 pm LOVE AFFAIR (Hindi) Sathye College (Wide Angle Auditorium) Vile-Parle (East) February 15, 2013, 7:00 pm The Ugly One (English) NCPA, Nariman Point February 15, 07:00 pm RAAVANLEELA (Hindi) Veer Savarkar Theatre Shivaji Park February 17, 2013, 8:00 pm Gates to India Song NCPA, Nariman Point (French Play in English) February 21, 07:00 pm All in the Timing (English) NCPA, Nariman Point February 23, 07:00 pm Dance Like A Man (English) NCPA, Nariman Point February 23,07:00 pm The Diary of a Word (English) NCPA, Nariman Point February 24, 07:00 pm The East India Co.medy Show (English) NCPA, Nariman Point February 23,2013, 08:00 pm Chinta Chhod Chintamani (Hindi) NCPA, Nariman Point February 24, 07:00 pm

The Diary of a Word (English) NCPA, Nariman Point February 24 07:00 pm Sanskruti Kaladarpan Film and Drama fest: (Marathi) Yashwant Natya Mandir, Matunga Between 17 to 22 February 13 Chinta Chod Chintamani (Hindi) Veer Savarkar Theatre, Shivaji Park February 3, 8:00 pm NCPA Experimental Theatre, Nariman Point February 24, 7:00 pm BLAME IT ON YASHRAJ (English) St. Andrews Auditorium Bandra(w) February 3, 2013, 7:30 pm Prithvi Theatre Juhu February 3, 2013, 7:30 pm Sophia Bhabha Hall Breach Candy February 17, 2013, 7:30 pm NCPA Tata Theatre Nariman Point February 24, 2013, 7:00 pm

PUNE
Ashok Patkis workshops Sudarshan Rangamanch February 1 &2 Full Day Alibaba ani Chalishtale Chor (Marathi) Jyotsna Bhole Sabhagruh February 2 to 3, 7:00pm Paani Me Ani Savlya (Marathi) Sudarshan Rangamach February 3, 7:00pm Musical programme based on poems by Narayan Surve Sudarshan Rangamancha February 9 Ruhaniyat @ Pune Indian Musical Programme Empress Botanical Garden, Camp February 10,2013, 6:00pm Ek Ehsaas A Legendary Tribute (U) Ganesh Kala Kreeda Manch, Swargate February15, 2013, 7:00pm Melange - A concert with a difference by Mahesh Kale narrated by Ashvini Bhave February 03, 2013, 9:30 pm MOHIT CHAUHAN- Live In Concert in Mlange 2013 Mahalaxmi Lawns, Pune February 17, 2013, 5:00 pm

Wah Guru (Marathi) Bharat Natya Mandir, Sadashiv Peth February 2 5.00pm Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha, Kothrud February 3 12.30pm Sangit Saubhadra (Marathi) Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha, Kothrud February 7, 5.00pm Final Draft (Marathi) Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha, Kothrud February 9, 5.00pm Proposal (Marathi) Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha, Kothrud February 10, 12.30pm Gandhi Adva Yeto (Marathi) Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha, Kothrud February 10, 5.00pm Majhiya Bhaujina Rit Kalena (Marathi) Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha, Kothrud February 10, 9.30pm Aparadhi Sugandha (Marathi) Bharat Natya Mandir, Sadashiv Peth February 16, 9.00pm

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Photo Courtsey: The Academy of Music Pune

The Marathon Recital A festival of notes with Nortan by Pt. Narayan at FTII
Photo Courtsey: FTII

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