The morning dawned as usual. Regular si subah . Dad ,
mom, husband and me plonked comfortably with our newspapers.
Was glancing through the mumbai mirror , events page. It had been some
time since I had seen a natak. With Dinanath Natya Griha undergoing
repairs, the withdrawal symptoms were stronger.. not that I am a
regular theatre crawler, but when the craving struck, there was just
that one more option that I could explore. Since last year, when my bucket
list has been regularly reviewed, and revisited, theatre , has begun
to figure prominently. I love the theatre. The marathi at that. It
matches my sensibilities. Not very pathbreaking. Not very in your
face. Not frivoulous. Open to discussion. As a person, I have
evolved from being a rigid one who responded only to 2 shades black and
white, to a moderately accomodating one , who recognises that there are
several more colors with shades of their own and if not loving them all
is atleast able to recognjse them and make her peace with them.
Similarly I find the theatre scene in marathi. Open to touch topics
which were taboo, explore old issues in new light and managing to not
being judgemental. Most plays, you carry home with you. They remain in your
The whole of last year , the theatre bug bugged me a lot.
There have been times when I have been to Parle on a subzi buying trip
and seeing an interesting play on the bill board, have just walked in
with or w/o the subzi as the case might be. And with such a history,
the auditorium being closed for repairs was like a state of prohibition
being declared. I had tasted blood and I wanted more.
Okkk as usual I have digressed.
So today I happened to read that the Kabir fest had opened. Last year I
had read about this fest on the last day of the fest and was disappointed
that I had missed. I did not know what to expect from this one but wanted
to see what it was all about. Checked the schedule and realised I would have to miss this one too. Except one segment which was to be
showcased at the Gateway on Saturday 12th Jan at daybreak.. ( yess., i hope to
catch this one at 6.30 am)
At this precise moment the husband
announced that the Keli festival commences tomorrow. This is one programme
he also looks forward too. The chenda players of . So many of them
together, playing their chendas together. The energy, the rhythm,, the
melody, the tradition....... it is an Ahaaaa! moment. I had last seen
it atleast a decade ago at Horniman circle. Plan to catch it tomorrow.
At noon , a friend called. She had the afternoon off from work and
was ready for an evening out. "Kuchh arty farty kartey hain "she said.
"Natak, ya kuch musiic bisiik......the classical type" .She
had touched the "dukhti rug" . So we both were browsiing the net and papers while on the phone.
The chenda festival which she also
wanted to visit, happens tomorrow. That left us with a play at Prithvi
or a musical evening at Nehru Centre, with Trilok Gurtu, Pt Vishwamohan Bhatt and many others. This seemed super attractive.
Called up Nehru Centre. Yes, they had tickets for us. No , they wouldn't accept
telebooking. Problem. Same issue with Prithvi. I am not comfortable
with using the credit card on the net.
A sort of desperation was setting in. We had the time, we had the inclination but jaayein toh jaayeiin kahaan,,!!
Just then happend to read about a play that was doing its"shubharambhacha
prayog " today. The inaugural show. Could find only one familiar face amongst the cast.
Satish Taare. This 'star' has been a laugh riot on marathi channels
and comedy shows. This play offered the convenience of telebooking
Thought we would take a chance. We would target Nehru Centre and if
things didn't click there , we had the telebooking to fall back on.
The days 'MUST DO LIST' was ferociously attacked and completed. That which could be put on hold , was put on hold promptly.
But somehow when we eventually started we wern't left with much time or
energy to attempt what we had in mind. So we decided to cash in on
what we had in hand and marched towards Shivaji Mandir , Dadar. The
play "Eke Divshi Kaay Zaala....... a fanstastic fantasy it proclaimed.
As I type this , I am realsing that this could well be the title of
this post. :-)
We were there on time. And in the theatre
at 7.30 pm. Were excited at being present at the inaugural show. Like on a
blind date, what with not having any reviews to fall back on.
I love theatre. The excitement , the buzz. ... Of the actors being live
on stage, responsible for their act and that of their co - actor. Of being
able to overcome stage fright, of being ready to improvise. Am in awe
of the director. His vision. Of how the play is going to be
interpreted and presented. The lighting, the property and how they are
used in the course of the drama. I like to note it all.
The Shivaji Mandir auditorium has been redone since I had been there years ago. It is kind to the long legged ones.
It was 7.40 pm and there was no sign of the play beginning. Through a gap
in the curtains my friend saw that the stage hadn't been set. Props were
lying topsy turvy. They had ladders onstage with people tackling wiring
issues. At 8 pm they apologised sighting tech issues. By 8.15 the 2
of us were thinking of telling them to proceed , in a 'jaise the' mode.
Anyway, it was the first show, none of us would be any wiser. And in any case
they called it a Fantastic Fantasy. We would understand.
Finally at 8.30 , they were ready. And then we weren't. Yes. We were
not ready to accept the absolutely pathetic play they were performing.
The lead actor, who otherwise is so much in command , on the tv shows,
didn't have that commanding stage presence. The story line was lame. It was an insult to the intelligence. Yes
, we knew it to be a fantasy. So we were prepared for a bit of light comedy... silly jokes. Yes, we would have laughed to them too. But they did not have a story to tell. They had a bad plot.
We were disappointed. Less
disappointed, more angry. What a waste of an evening! We were angry because we had invested so much time in this one. Right from the prep time
starting at home to the time the drama ended. We were willing to give
the performance a chance when it wasn't backed by a solid review. . We assumed we would be in for a surprise. It
surpirsed alright, but not quite in the way we expected it to .
We had been desperate for an 'enriching' evening and were left poorer.
Curiosity killed the cat ,they say. We nearly died. All we were curious was to find out, EKE DIVSHI KAAY ZALA..........