Malvika Jain

Written and Directed : Makrand Deshpande
Cast : Makarand Deshpande, Aahana Kumra, Sanjay Dadhich, Bharat more


SIR SIR SARLA is about the love of two university students for their teacher, philosopher and guide, Professor Palekar. Makrand Deshpande, who has written and directed the play, essays the role of the Professor. While Sarla (Aahana Kumra) loves the Professor in an ardent, romantic manner, the boy Phanidhar (Sanjay Dadhich) is the underdog who shares a love-hate relationship with the Professor. The lives of the three are thus strongly interwoven.

Throughout the play, we see each of the characters deal with their individual conflict, first suppressing it and then letting it out- sometimes calmly, and sometimes vehemently. Even though the Professor betrays internal conflict himself, he is always a beacon of wisdom for his two favourite students. However, if the play were just that, it would be quite simple and unchallenging. The interest lies in Phanidar questioning his teacher again and again, even accusing him of ruining all their lives by manipulation. As the teacher gives rambling explanations, Phanidhar's abrupt interruptions are quite comic, bringing one down quite suddenly from idealistic theories to a reality where jealousies and self-interests lie.

The play would have been long-winded had it not been for Phanidhar, who is very endearing with his utter lack of grace and simple honesty. The situation becomes interesting midway when Sarla's insecure husband, Keshav, enters. Keshav is a businessman with little understanding of Sarla's romantic view of life, even though he tries.

As the story unfolds, the unmentionable is said and then dealt with; hurtful accusations are made, life-altering decisions are contemplated and then re-considered. With all its 'grand' ideals, the play also provides voyeuristic satisfaction as the plot skirts around the love of a young girl for her not-so-young teacher and mentor.

The Professor prizes intellect above all but at the same time goads Sarla to a life of materialism, thus raising the eternal dilemma of which of the two matters more. As Sarla rejects her husband for being mundane, obsessed with just cricket and the construction business, one wonders if such differences can end a relationship. Finally, is the Professor truly guilty of ruining lives as Phanidhar said, or is he indeed a man with a wise plan for his beloved students? We are each left to draw our own conclusions.

The music between the scenes takes us back to the TV serial days of 'Shanti' and 'Abhiman'. The set appears irrelevantly dramatic. Scary masks were suspended mid-air. Regardless, if you are eager to explore an intriguing web of relationships, enjoy poetic wisdom with startling humour, then SIR SIR SARLA is the play for you.

Malvika Jain is Copy Supervisor at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising Agency, a long distance mountain cyclist, and creator of CYCLOP- a forum for people to buy/sell second hand cycles and cycle related gear for adventure-based cycling.

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