Members of the SP College talk about their play Pranimatra that won top honours at the Purushottam Karandak inter-college festival
For the students of the SP College the idea behind conceptualisng and staging a play that is based on the cross-interpretation of conversations between humans and animals,was born out of a documentary. Their play ‘Pranimatra’,which won the first place at the Purushottam Karandak,inter-college festival on Sunday,is based on various disjoint elements,according to its director Kshitish Date. From loopholes in the food chain to philosophy and from hunting down inner demons to understanding the dual-faced nature of man,the play explores it all from the point of view of a tiger and a deer. The play was inspired by a National Geographic documentary where a lioness had taken a doe under her protection.
Having worked on a very tight schedule,Date says that they began writing the play one week prior to the submission of the script and had only two weeks to rehearse it with a totally new cast that had never performed at the festival before. “It was a mad rush. The issue we had taken up,bordered on fantasy merging with reality and philosophy. Hence first we sat down discussed the entire script amongst ourselves and then decided to go ahead with the actual acting,” he says.
Pranimatra details the life of Wagh (the tiger) played by Date and of Harin (deer) played by Surabhi Barve and their travels through the forest. Wagh is battling his own personal demons when he remembers how his younger brother was killed by a hunter. He says,”Things come a full circle for him when he kills a deer only to learn that he too has orphaned her only child. Filled with remorse,he takes the child under his protection. In the process,he also discovers a lot of truths about the meaning of life and the dual personality of human beings.”
Date,who wrote the play along with his class colleague Pranav Bapat,says the biggest problem they faced were in deciding whether or not to give the animals any dialogues. “We decided to do this in a different manner. So when the tiger was talking to the deer in front of the humans,all that they could hear were roars. On the other hand when one of the humans was trying to coax the tiger into eating food,he could comprehend that the human was trying to afflict some damage to him or the deer,” says Date. In order to study more about the subjects they watched documentaries as well as visited the Katraj Zoo.
The team was also aided by the members of their art circle namely professor Pradnya Kulkarni and professor GN Thorat. “We mainly provided the critical appreciation for the play,” says Kulkarni adding,”While they were rehearsing,we asked them to tweak certain parts of the play that appeared out of place. However,we are happy for them for having won the award.” Incidentally,it is a homecoming of different sorts for Kulkarni who was a part of the arts circle 18 years back in the college when she was a student and had won the award then.
“We were hopeful of finishing in the top three but we were pleasantly surprised to win it,” he says,adding,”We plan to put up performances at the college and even outside as and when time permits.”