A Book On Jayant Pawar's Plays

Avinash Kolhe

When Jayant Pawar [ 1960-2021] wrote a new play KAY DANGER WARA SUTLAY [What a dangerous wind is blowing], he borrowed this line from Arun Kolatkar's famous poem, which talks about the dangerous times we all are living in. This explains the unusual title of the play. This play was staged on 29th July 2010 in Mumbai. Later many shows were staged in different cities of Maharashtra. It depicts a problem unique to metropolitan India, especially Mumbai, where property rates are extremely high and the house market was facing a boom. Jayant's new play showed how an ordinary man can be deprived of his ancestral property with the connivance of the police department.

Jayant wrote screenplays and short stories. His anthology Phoenizchya Rakhetun Uthla Mor had won prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in 2012. But he was essentially a theatre person. Jayant shot to fame with his path-breaking play ADHANTAR. Before this, for years he wrote one-act plays for various competition. He tried his hand at a full length play with ADHANTAR. This seminal play was staged in 1997 in Mumbai. It was an elaboration/extension of his one act play WALAWI. ADHANTA5 brought Jayant fame and fortune in equal measure. It was the inspiration behind Mahesh Manjrekar's Bollywood hit VAASTAV.

Almost a decade and half later came Jayant's new play, KAY DANGER WARA SUTLAY, which is an upper-caste, upper-class version of ADHANTAR, as the locale of this play is Shivaji Park, Mumbai whereas the locale of ADHANTAR was Parel, where textile mills were located by dozens. Unfortunately, KAY DANGER WARA SUTLAY not get the same level of compliments and recognition. And yet it was always discussed among the community of scholars and academics of theatre. Back then there were many articles praising and criticizing, by renowned scholars. Unfortunately, these important and useful articles were scattered in various newspapers and periodicals spread all over Maharashtra and were resting in the dusty files. The community of scholars were deprived of these scholarly articles which were written in the 2010s.

The Marathi department of Yashawantrao Chavan [KMC] College, Kolhapur took the commendable initiative to collect these articles and published them in a book form Kay Denjaras Wara Sutalay: Sahitya Aani Prayog [Kay Denjaras Wara Sutalay: Script and Performance]. This book was released in Mumbai's Ravindra Natya Mandir to the packed audience on 11th June 2022. The main speaker at the function was Shafat Khan, a contemporary playwright of Jayant and the presidential address was delivered by Premanand Gajvi, a senior playwright. Both spoke eloquently on the finer aspects of Jayant's play and paid moving tributes to the memory of Jayant.

The book has insightful and thought-provoking articles by scholars and practioners of theatre like Anirudhha Khutwad, Dr Madhuri Dixit, Anil Gavas, etc. The book is published by Kolhapur-based UG college run by Kolhapur Municipal Corporation, quite unusual activity for a local government body. It is an important and welcome addition to the growing literature on modern Marathi theatre.

*Avinash Kolhe is Mumbai-based theatre lover who has been enjoying and reviewing plays for 40 odd years

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