Set in a contemporary style, Atul
Pethe's play on Sant Tukaram, taken from the
book Anandowari, explores his dilemmas as an
ordinary man and his transformation.
Atul Pethe is all
geared up to attend the National School of
Drama's (NSD) International Drama Festival 2003,
for the fourth time in Delhi.
Pethe is a director, actor and a writer of
repute and has been involved with theatre for
more than 20 years. His play Surya Pahilela
Manoos, where Dr Shriram Lagoo plays the role of
Socrates, won rave reviews and was recognised at
the NSD's first National festival. This time,
his play Anandowari has been selected for the
festival, which will also have plays from
Singapore, Japan, Sri Lanka and Germany.
Anandowari is a well known Marathi novel,
written by D B Mokashi which deals with Kanoba,
Sant Tukaram's younger brother, who is trying to
locate Tukaram, who has disappeared. The novel
deals with the spiritual journey of Tukaram, his
life, revolutionary poetry and their
relationship with each other.
"This play has possessed me for the last 13
years. There are various levels in which this
novel can be deciphered. Also, there are many
viewpoints presented through just the character
of Kanoba," Pethe explains.
"Tukaram's story has been rendered in a very
different perspective, and my play gives an
intense portrait not only of Tukaram the man,
but also of the restlessness of a creative and
rebellious person. Kanoba seeks to understand
this and shows us the picture of this different
Tukaram, one we can all relate to," he adds.
Pethe further says that this play raises
questions related to our lives and makes us
introspect. It explores the pain and agony of
human life. "I always found the fact interesting
that Tukaram was a person like us, but he is
transformed witnessing the life around him, thus
making him look for the meaning of true life
and exploring other domains, in turn renouncing
his life. Kanoba, his brother, on the other hand
continues to be a part of this world and explore
its complexities," he says enthusiastically.
Pethe loved the challenge of dramatising the
novel into a play. He has written at least five
to six versions of this novel to turn it onto a
one man show, with Kishore Kadam playing the
role of Kanoba. "I had planned this play with
Nana Patekar in mind 13 years back, but he
became busy with Ankush and the play stayed
where it was... in my mind, till now," Pethe
This play was dealt as an experimental play
which has been moulded to the present day
scenario and is relevant to today's condition
and philosophical debates. The language of the
playas well as the original novel is very
lyrical and intense, and even though there is a
single character speaking, the play moves freely
between the past and the present with nature
playing a pivotal role.
"We have tried to explore space and time with
our set designs, lighting, costumes and music.
It was worth exploring the possibility of
relating and reinterpreting this rebellious
character to our present day situation," he