Exactly a year ago,Ajinkya Gokhale visited his relative who spoke about her woes of being a mother. Her son wasnt a trouble maker or a naughty child,he was a slow learner. When my relative was speaking,I felt more empathy for her than for her son. As a mother,she had to protect her child from the insensitivity of society,save him from being mocked,or teach him to be strong enough to face such situations. All this,I realised,takes enormous patience and strength. It occurred to me that this would make a suitable theme for a one-act play and began churning my mental wheels to come up with a way of adapting it into a script, says Ajinkya,who is pursuing BCom at Garware College.
After much brainstorming,he and his team came up with a play titled Chocolate Cha Bangla. It was performed as part of the prestigious Purushottam Karandak competition earlier this year and bagged a few top prizes. Now,the play will be competing against other one-act plays performed by youngsters across Maharashtra at an inter-state theatre competition called Vodafone Rangasangeet.
We did not win the Best Play award at Purushottam,but we got prizes for Best Actor and Best Writer. Heeding the advice of the judges and theatre critics,we have fine-tuned it for this competition, says Ajinkya,who has directed the play and also played the central role of slow-learning son.
He shares that the team did extensive research by visiting parents of such children and seeking advice from child psychiatrists to ensure they get the finer details of the script and acting right. We will not make grand changes to our script,but will incorporate some changes to make the play better. We are looking at covering every loophole in the plot, says Ajinkya.
Another play which has qualified for the Vodafone Rangasangeet finals is Ulagaddi,performed by the students of Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Fine Arts winners of Purushottam Karandak this year. The play is a dialogue between a girl who speaks only Kannada and a man who can speak only Marathi,who try to escape the flood and are stranded on a tree to survive. The title of the play means onion in Kannada,which plays a vital role in the climax.
We believe that the play was as good as it could get when we performed it at Purushottam. But we have made slight changes in our acting this time. We have brushed up our skills and are working on enhancing our performances in terms of expressions,voice modulation and the likes, says Gaurangi Gokhale,member of the team. She says that the changes made to the play will be so discreet that only critics who have played close attention to the play performed earlier will be able to spot it. A person who has watched the play at Purushottam wont be able to make out the difference if they watch it being performed again. We have not changed the flavour of the play,only tried to enhance the emotional experience, she says.
The play which has qualified from Pune in the musical category is Pazaar,directed by theatre professional Girish Datar. His group,called Anubhav Theater Group,includes students from different colleges in the city. The play traces the journey of an adivasi girl who is entering puberty. The protagonist is about 12 years old and is just entering adolescence. Apart from the bodily changes she needs to deal with,she has to adapt to the way she is treated by her community too, says Datar. The play incorporates poems by Marathi poet Nalesh Patil,which have been converted into songs. Even the dialogues have been set to a melody, says Datar.
After participating in the Firodia Karandak competition earlier this year,the play is all set to be re-staged at the competitions final round,on November 9 and 10 in the city.