Review

PRAKARAN PAHILE

Direction : Atisha Naik
Writer : Sushama Deshpande
Cast : Sushama Deshpande and Suhas Sirsat

PRAKARAN PAHILE Play Review


Aditi Sharma



 PRAKARAN PAHILE Review

PRAKARAN PAHILE is a beautiful and subtle exploration of the relationship between Eknath, a simple farmer from a village in Maharashtra, and Jija, an author from the city. Jija (Sushama Deshpande) is a middle-aged woman. Eknath is dead, and a dialogue takes place between Jija and Eknath's son Ravi (Suhas Sirsat). The play explores two essential questions - How would a son react on his father's death in his mistress' home? and How would Jija interact with Ravi? While the answer to the first question is typical, it is Jija's character that surprises, and makes the play worth a watch.

PRAKARAN PAHILERavi's mother sends him to Jija's house to pay his last respects to his father. The young man undertakes the journey, from the village to the city, despite the grudges he holds against his father. Ravi initiates a conversation with Jija only because his mother Susheela insists he light a lamp in her house; the place his father passed away. The son has several questions about the relationship between his father and the other woman. Jija is inquisitive about the aspects of her lover's life that she's always stayed away from. So, how the 'relationship' affects the 'family' becomes the crux of the play. The two facets of a man's personality - from the point of view of the wronged son and the much-loved other woman - fuel conversations.

Jija wants to know more about the family; Ravi wants explanations to incidents that occurred years ago. Jija only has fond memories of Eknath and speaks of his family with a sense of wonderment; Ravi spews bitterness and sarcasm every time he speaks of his father. Through their conversations, Jija and Ravi bring alive the third character on stage. Eknath isn't alive anymore but his 'presence' is evident. While Jija and Ravi differ drastically in their views about Eknath, both of them speak about Susheela with love and respect. "You have to make do with what you get," is Susheela's take on life, and she makes sure her children live by those words. Conversations turn mellow when Jija talks about Eknath and when Ravi talks about his mother - these are the most beautiful moments of PRAKARAN PAHILE. The verbal duel between the two characters takes on various shades through the play. Towards the end, they seem to share a fleeting incident from the same page. It remains the only moment Jija and Ravi genuinely share a conversation, and are just not there to listen to each other's stories. As the play veered towards an emotional end, even the audience could not suppress the sniffles.

Deshpande's Jija comes across as a strong character but her enthusiastic interrogation of the son seems a bit odd, especially at a time when she's lost someone so beloved to her. Suhas Sirsat's Ravi is befittingly defiant and he holds his ground vis-a-vis the senior actress. The play could easily do without the terribly loud and jarring music used for the more dramatic moments and be the better for it.

*Aditi Sharma enjoys watching theatre and writing about it.


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