Noted theatre director Atul Pethe
is at it again. After "demystifying Socrates"
with the highly acclaimed 'Surya Pahilela
Manoos' and after probing the ideals and the
reality of Dalit movement with 'Ujalalya Disha',
he has turned his attention to Tukaram, the
presiding poet-saint of the state from the 17th
century. He directs the play 'Anand-owari',
which opens at the S.M. Joshi hall on Sunday
Like most of his earlier efforts, Pethe has
chosen to work with heavyweights. Based on an
acclaimed novel of the same name by D.B.
Mokashi, the play is "edited" for theatre by
none other than Vijay Tendulkar, arguably the
grand-dad of modern Marathi playwrights. And if
Shriram Lagoo returned to theatre with a bang as
Socrates, despite his septugenarian status, 'Anand-owari'
shall mark a crescendo for national
award-winning Kishor Kadam of 'Gandhi v/s
Gandhi' fame and 'Dhyasparva'.
Incidentally, when Tendulkar started working on
the script as early as in 1988, he had Dr Lagoo
in mind. Sunday's premiere has thus been an
elusive dream of Pethe's for the last 15 years.
In the interim, it got off to several false
starts with Nana Patekar, Sayaji Shinde and
Ganesh Yadav vying to perform the solo act.
Pethe and Kadam had been constantly toying with
the idea for the last five years, until they
decided to drop everything else for a month and
a half , and stage it under the Pune-based
Abhijat Rangbhoomi banner.
So what is it about the play that keeps
celebrated artists hooked for 15 years? It is
the challenge of analysing the human aspect and
relevance of the saint, whose songs are sung in
every household in the state, a whopping 350
years after he wrote them.
Pethe and company brook no excuse for popular
appeal while analysing Tukaram through the eyes
of his younger brother Kanhoba (played by
Kadam). In the process it takes a painstakingly
objective view of Tukaram's transition from
being an ordinary man, to being hailed as a
saint and poet-extraordinaire.
It's as demanding a play to watch as it is to
stage. Even as it showcases Kadam amazing
talent, Pethe's team of architect Makarand Sathe
(set design), Shrikant Ekbote (light design)
Sham Bhutkar (costumes) music (Ashok Gaikwad)
keep the viewers busy in reading beyond the