If you think that it is just Marathi films that are enjoying critical and commercial acclaim, then I'm afraid that you are wrong. In the last few years, the theatre scene in Nagpur has changed drastically. Thanks to this change, Marathi plays are now creating a buzz in the town.
Adding to the golden era of theatre in Nagpur is a recent achievement by a city-based theatre group.
Rashtrabhasha Pariwar Samajik Sanskrutik Sanstha has bagged the first position in the drama competition arranged by the Maharashtra Government.
The 57th Marathi State Amateur Drama Competition, a prestigious drama contest was held on February 23 in Nanded, Maharashtra. Theatre groups from Pune, Mumbai, Chandrapur also participated in the competition. But it was Nagpur's Rashtrabhasha Pariwar Samajik Sanskrutik Sanstha that bagged the top positive after a wait of 24 years.
To celebrate this success, Reacho Nagpur got into a conversation with the director of the play- Rupesh Pawar.
1. Tell us about the contest and your journey to the top!
The contest was held on the state level where all the centers of different cities participated. The Nagpur center presented total 25 - 30 plays, out of which only 2 were selected for the final round. We stood first from the Nagpur region and later went ahead to represent our city in the finale. The grand finale saw a total 35 to 40 plays coming from different cities across the state.
For the first time this year, even Goa participated in the contest. In the end, Nagpur bagged the first position and won a cash prize of six lakh rupees.
2. What was the story of the play and who was behind the concept?
The name of the play was ‘Ani Shevti Prarthana’ and it was an amalgamation of two different stories. The stories- Laal Aur Pila and Licence were written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and Saadat Hasan Manto respectively. The first half of the play showcased the story of Licence whose protagonist was a strong independent woman; while the second half of the play was built on Laal Aur Pila which revolved around a story of a painter. Both the protagonists have no connection in the physical aspect but had a mutual psychological connection. I came up with the concept only after reading their fascinating stories and thought of combining them because they both gave an influential message. Once the raw concept was outlined, my team members helped me to weave more interesting things into it.
3. Tell us something about the various awards that you won in the competition!
Our team has bagged the first position in direction, make-up, costume, and set decoration. In addition to this, the actors have also won the acting certificates.
We won 8 awards in total. They are as follows:
Best Production- Rs 6 lakhs
Best Direction (1st Position)- Rupesh Pawar
Best Actors (1st Position)- Male- Ruturaj Wankhede: Female- Swati Kulkarni
Best Makeup (1st Position)- Akash Morghade
Best Lights- (3rd Position)- Magesh Vijaykar
Best Set- (2nd Position)- Pushpak Bhat
Best Music- (2nd Position)- Ruturaj Wankhede
4. How much time and efforts did you invest in your rehearsals?
As mentioned earlier, the play was actually a combination of two stories that got constructed gradually. I read these two stories some 5 years back and thought of developing a play around it. With time, we kept rehashing the script.
When it came to rehearsals, we started with three very basic sessions- the voice grooming session, physical training (in order to enhance the play by adding more energy into it) and then to increase the co-ordination amongst the members. By making them all part of theatre activities and games, we observed a great impact in their energy levels. The entire team spend hours practicing and rest, as they say, is history.
5. Was this play penned down especially for the competition?
I never think of weaving a story for the sake of a competition. When I stumble upon a good story, I imagine the characters in the form of a play and then start developing it.
A beautiful story needs a good platform to reach out to the crowd. And when we got to know about this competition; we poured our heart and soul into it. This specific play has been previously performed in Hindi under the banner of Meraki Theatre. But for this contest, we improvised it and translated it in Marathi.
We hope that the success of this play makes the youngsters of Nagpur aware about the theatre scenario in Nagpur.
Watch this video to know more about this play!