By Aashay Khandekar
It is a rare child who dreams of growing up and becoming a hooligan. An institute that trains people to be hooligans would, one is sure, attract empty classrooms and police attention. Except that such an institute (officially) exists only in the Marathi play Institute of Pavtology, a Natak Company production that takes a satirical look at a persistent social problem. It was staged at Bharat Natya Mandir, Pune on June 29.
Over an hour long, the play, according to the director Alok Rajwade, is a black comedy. “We look at hooligans as second-class citizens. But how are these gangs formed? Lack of education, opportunities and employment have plagued today’s youth. In Institute of Pavtology, we have shown that there is an institute that has bank robbery, murder and other heinous crimes as subjects for academics. Students are taught these subjects passionately in the play. It is only at the end of the play that we see the impact of teaching youngsters lessons in violence,” says Rajwade, adding, “In Marathi, pavta is a slang for hooligan. That is how we have derived the term ‘Pavtology’ for the play.”
Institute of Pavtology had its debut show in 2010 when it was presented by a group of BMCC students for a city-level theatre competition. The same year, it was a runner-up at Thespo, an annual national youth festival held in Mumbai.
Written by Santosh Shintre, the play does not have any protagonist. “All 14 characters are protagonists in their own way,” says Rajwade, whose past productions include Don Shoor (2011) and Geli Ekvish Varsha (2012). While Don Shoor was a Marathi adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s play Overseasoned, Geli Ekvish Varsha revolves around the realities of the world through the mind of a 21-year-old. Shintre has also acted in Marathi films such as Dhoosar (2008), Udedh Bun (2008), Vihir (2009) and Chintoo (2012).
The cast of Institute of Pavtology includes Abhay Mahajan, Aditya Patil, Akshay Tanksale, Soumitra Gapchup, Siddharth Menon, Ruturaj Shinde, Kaustubh Deshmane and Suraj Parasnis.