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Ashok Patole’s Marathi comedy Ek Chavat Sandhyakal,which in its nascent stages was only open to men,will crack up the audiences with its adult jokes

Written by Debjani Paul | Published: July 25, 2013 4:44:47 am

A young woman calls her professor and asks for help with her PhD thesis. The professor,feeling out of depth,enlists a sexologist’s assistance. But why a sexologist? Perhaps a sexologist was the first person the professor could think of when he heard the title of the thesis: ‘Sociological,psychological and physical impact of naughty jokes and swear words’. The professor and the sexologist look back at younger days and remember the torrent of expletives and racy jokes they had exchanged in school and college,and lay the path for Ek Chavat Sandhyakal,which translates as A Naughty Evening.

A little over a year ago,when this Marathi play written and directed by Ashok Patole,was staged for the first time it created quite a stir in the Marathi theatre community for more than one reason. When Patole first announced the play,he opened it to a male-only audience. “I called it a male-o-drama. It was the first time we were attempting an adult comedy with such jokes. We wanted to get the male audience’s feedback first and then open it to women too. I knew that if I had opened the play to women in the beginning,they would have protested,” he says.

Women protested anyway,offended that they were barred from watching the play. “Several who watched the play said it was too bold,and women would not be able to digest its explicit language,or that they would not be able to enjoy it openly because of social and cultural restrictions. But all the protests and the controversy created a lot of publicity for the play,and when I opened it to women as well,many came and watched it and enjoyed it too,” says Patole,who will stage two shows of the play in the city today.

Even though theatre goers accepted the play,the roadblocks were far from removed. Several politicians got together and asked the censor board to revoke the play’s license. “The censor board gave the play an adult rating,though they didn’t see why it had to be shut down. But many theatres didn’t allow us to stage the play. The Marathi media was so harsh,we thought the play will go under,” recalls Patole,adding that they have only used expressions that the common man uses in his daily life.

Things turned around eventually,and the controversy prompted several curious people to watch the play. “They came up to me and said they enjoyed it. It reminded them of their college days when they would crack “non-veg jokes”. The comedy in the play is well-knit. It’s funny,but it is not demeaning to women,” he says.

The play will be staged at Ram Krishna More Auditorium in Chinchwad at 6 pm,and at Bal Gandharva Rangmandir at 9.30 pm

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