Sunil Barve
The chocolate hero of Marathi showbiz has another identity. Sunil Barve is also as an ace producer. He shot to fame when he produced 'Herbarium' - a bouquet of five landmark Marathi plays - HAMIDABAICHI KOTHI, SURYACHI PILLE, ZOPI GELELA JAGA ZALA, LAHANPAN DEGA DEVA and ANDHAL DALTAY under his banner ''Subak'' (Sunil Barve Kalakruti). That was in 2010 when he celebrated the silver jubilee of his career with these revived plays that ran to full houses in their limited run of 25 shows each. On heavy public demand, Barve is back with 'Herbarium 2' - five more legendary Marathi plays that will have only 25 shows each. The first play, PATI GELE GA KATHEWADI opened last week. And the audience is lapping up his offering, yet again.

 By Deepa Ranade


Deepa Karmalkar (DR): Your last outing at the theatre with 'Herbarium' was seven years ago. Despite the record- breaking success of that venture, what took you so long to return with its sequel?

Sunil Barve (SR): There were incessant queries from the audience about the next chapter of Herbarium. I was looking for a good theme. I thought about doing 'Sangeet Natak'. Then I probed the possibility of staging the winning plays from the State Level Drama Competition. But then nothing was falling into place. After all, everything depends on the audience and gauging by their response, I knew they wanted Herbarium 2 that would bring back classic plays. The first edition included plays that were not big hits but they were still well known plays that did very well - the milestones of Marathi theatre. Herbarium 2 runs on the same principle.

DR: What is your rationale behind choosing PATI GELE GA KATHEWADI as the opening play of the second chapter of Herbarium?

SB: As I told you earlier, the goal was to bring to fore the lesser-known but powerful Marathi playwrights. People keep staging P L Deshpande and Vijay Tendulkar's plays. It's high time to showcase writers like Vyankatesh Madgulkar. His PATI GELE GA KATHEWADI is a light comedy based on a folk-ish story, which was enacted by great actors like Datta Bhat and Arvind Deshpande.

DR: You like to play your cards close to your chest! Aren't you going to reveal the names of the rest of the four plays included in Herbarium 2?

SB: Really, it depends on my directors. I have the same set of five directors this time too. Chandrakant Kulkarni, Mangesh Kadam, Pratima Kulkarni, Kedar Shinde and Vijay Kenkre. They pick the plays they want to recreate.

DR: Such suspense! Is that a deliberate marketing gimmick?

SB: Honestly, the confidentiality is from a business point of view. Many old plays that were recorded earlier get televised diluting the appeal of our productions.

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