I welcomed the first day of 2012 by watching MARATHI BANA at Prabodhankar Thakre theatre. The show started sharp at 8:45 PM. This is the first time I have been out for a night show. Otherwise since my school days, the last show I was allowed to be at was the 6-9 PM slot.
Marathi Bana is an orchestra & not a play. It has a total of 125 artistes & is organized, written & directed by Ashok Hande. The artistes are a mix of singers, dancers & musicians. The underlying theme is Maharashtra & its rich cultural heritage. It starts with a Bhupali which my mom says is very famous. However, I was quite unaware of the initial 2-3 songs that were played out. Hence the start was quite boring for me. It could have been boring because they were just songs. The first out – and – out dance performance was ‘Amhi thakar thakar’, a beautiful, melodious song. The song earned a once more as well. This was followed by a Bharud. Maharashtra is famous for its many saints. The knowledge that was preached by these saints to the common man, using common terms of daily use is called a Bharud. These handy tips are called Burgunda. It’s a satire cum comedy in which the anchor & the bharud singer tell us about the various new trends which are prevalent in society. This piece was an intelligent composition which covered Rakhi Swant, Sheela ki jawani, Munni & Kolaveri as well! The intermission was preceded by ‘Lakh Lakh Chanderi’ which was a light performance. The stage & hall went pitch black & then came the dancers with lights in their hands making beautiful patterns with the lights while dancing to the song. This could have been better if there had been no light effects other than of those carried by the dancers. In between flashes of pink & purple lights at the side & back stage diminished the sheer beauty that could have been shown by the dancers with lights.
A wedding took place after the interval. The groom came with his ‘varaati’ from amongst the crowd. People from the crowd cheered the groom & his friends as they reached dancing, to the blushing bride. A few enthusiastic members from the crowd even danced with the groom’s party. The balcony roared with whistles. Next was what a typical Maharashtrian wedding is all about followed by Mangalagaur, Haldi – Kunku, Gondhal, etc. The girls dancing were extremely beautiful & talented. This was followed by some songs out of Marathi movies; the old ones; the lesser known ones at that; nothing new! Then came the Lavaani. There were 3 Lavanis. The dancers were all good. The show ended with patriotic songs & a salute to the Maratha King Shivaji.
My take: The ticket costs Rs. 300. A must watch if you have ‘jajwalya abhimaan’ of being a Marathi & have the ‘MI MARATHI’ fire ablaze in you. Watch it for the beautiful dances, fancy costumes & the excellent stage presence of all the artistes. To arrange groups of 25 – 30 dancers on a stage & to make them all dance in sync is difficult & Mr. Hande has managed it fantabulously. However, if you are a moderate or a miser, and believe that all which I have mentioned above can be watched at home on star pravah &/or zee Marathi, you will not be entirely wrong either. The song selection could have been better. If it had included songs which are well know to all generations I feel the youth which is not a regular follower of Marathi songs would have enjoyed better. Another tip for the dancers: the groups should be arranged so that the entire hall gets a somewhat uniform view of the dancers. Certain dancers on the sides had a tendency to turn their backs on the audiences. The male singers were all excellent, the female ones not so good! The dancers; both males & females were energetic & skilled & had practiced their stuff well & it showed. The anchoring done by Mr. Ashok Hande was flawless. 3 out of 5 from my side for the team effort & the dances!