Kshitij Patwardhans play Saggle ‘Ubhe’ aahet’ is a dark satire on rural politics
Prior to his latest venture,playwright Kshitij Patwardhan’s first commercial Marathi play ‘Nava Gadi Nava Raj’ not just became one of the more popular plays in the Marathi theatre circuit in the state,but also found its way to morph into a movie.His latest venture,titled ‘Saggle Ubhe’ aahet’ though he says is a more ‘adventurous project. It is a black comedy. The play is a proper commercial Marathi drama that deals with the lives of the characters comprising the ‘Ubhe’ family. It deals with their inter-personal relations,the pseudo development in their village and how everyone is trying to make a quick buck in whichever manner they can do so.
The two-hour-15-minute long play has a total of nine characters in it. Detailing the plot Patwardhan says,The head of the Ubhe family,Nivrutti,is also the sarpanch of his village. Ironically he passes away at the beginning of the play during a function held in his house. The play then proceeds to fuel the power struggle within his family for the vacant post of the mayor of the village. The humour in the play arises from not only the quirky characters,which include his sons,wife and daughter-in-law,but also how all of them are trying to use the death of their family patriarch to their advantage.
So you have the patriarch’s beloved chair in the house which is called ‘Favicol’. The eldest sun is called Cement as he deals with the construction business. On the other hand the second son has a dhaba on the highway called ‘Decent Dhaba’. All these little quirks add to the plot, says Patwardhan. However speaking on the seriousness and the reason behind writing the play he says that it was seeing places like Paud and Mulshi on just on the outskirts of Pune that left a deep impact on him. He says,Not just in these places but all those villages,which are somewhere in between being a big village and a small town made an impression on me. Essential medicare facilities are not there but a dish TV can be installed in a matter of hours. They need to literally beg for constructing toilets for the people but carry swanky mobile phones. It is all this that ‘Saggle Ubhe aahet’ is essentially about.
The play has Mugdha Karnik,Aarti Wadagbalkar,Rupa Shirsat,Priyadarshan Jadhav along with others. It has been directed by Sameer Vidwans,and has music by Chaitanya Adkar. The play will first open in Mumbai followed by Pune at the end of the month. Patwardhan says that more than anything it is the weird development in villages and the naive nature of the people of the villages that troubled him the most. They are so gullible at times. The satire in the play and how the relations between the brothers and their mother changes when politics comes in within their relations is something that I wanted to showcase. Besides nothing drives home a point as quickly and efficiently as satire and black comedy, he says.