Staging the Canvas

Sushama Deshpande's latest play 'Chitragoshti' is inspired by artist Sudhir Patwardhan's paintings

Written by Anjali Jhangiani | Published: August 9, 2012 1:28:21 am

Sushama Deshpande’s latest play ‘Chitragoshti’ is inspired by artist Sudhir Patwardhan’s paintings

Not once in her twenty five year long stint in theatre had Pune-based actor-writer-director Sushama Deshpande imagined that a casual visit to an art gallery will translate into a full-fledged play. In May this year,Deshpande visited a painting exhibition ‘Family Fiction’ by Mumbai artist Sudhir Patwardhan. Impressed by each frame that seemed like a scene from a family drama,she decided to write a script based on Patwardhan’s paintings. Two months later,she is ready with a play ‘Chitragoshti’.

“After attending the exhibition,I went for an art appreciation workshop hosted by Patwardhan,where I learnt to interpret paintings and thus began my creative process for ‘Chitragoshti’,” she adds.

Her research for ‘Chitragoshti’ involved long discussions with Patwardhan on his paintings,his inspiration and his thought processes during painting,his reasons,the trigger behind the painting or any other details,says Deshpande. As Patwardhan shared his thoughts,she wove a story around it,connecting thoughts behind each frame. That’s also when she figured that for an in -depth story,she had go beyond ‘Family Fiction’. She then decided to include Patwardhan’s other paintings too to strengthen her script.

“You cannot describe Patwardhan’s paintings without mentioning his work on the labourers and working classes of Mumbai. Even though my play is based on the paintings from ‘Family Fiction’,which makes it a family drama,I had to include the labourer paintings somewhere,so I decided to use it in the first half,when the play is just being introduced,” says Deshpande.

The play is divided into two Acts. The first is inspired from Patwardhan’s paintings like ‘Lower Parel’,‘The City’,‘Accident on May Day’ and ‘Irani Cafe’ which are themed on the daily routine of labourers and workers in the metro,Mumbai. The second half is a family drama based on the paintings from ‘Family Fiction’.

A perfectionist who wants to evolve every moment,Deshpande will re-read and revise the play’s after its performance in Pune and Mumbai on August 8 and August 15 respectively. “I visited the gallery in May and I presented the play in August,everything happened so quickly with ‘Chitragoshti’ that I didn’t get enough time to edit it,” she explains.

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