Veteran theatre person Satyadev Dubey is a reassuring presence at Prithvi. Clearly a man of the theatre, Dubey has trained generations of actors and continues to do so despite his failing health. It is also because of people like him that the values intrinsic to the theatre are reinforced time and again. And those who have had an opportunity to closely work with him know and respect the man's mettle. Dubey's iconic status amongst his contemporaries and the younger generations is not without reason. In our times especially his ideas for the theatre need to be protected for they are at a premium.
Chetan Datar's piece AJUNI YETO VAAS FHULANA (Marathi) directed by Vijay Kenkre therefore could not have been a more fitting eulogy to this man who has directed some of the finest productions in the history of Indian theatre. But Datar's piece is not merely panegyric. It has an intimacy that is only possible of someone who has known Dubey well. Further, the dramatic device that Datar makes use of translates his paean into a confrontational situation with Dubey himself played with uncanny ease by Nandu Madhav. Datar uses two other characters to give voice to his own feelings about the man. These characters take the form of two girl-students of Dubey, one fresh and young, the other experienced and older. Sonal Khale plays the younger student while Amruta Subhash plays the older one. It is Amruta Subhash's seething, bitter and tearful voice that best epitomizes Datar's tumultuous emotions for the man who taught him well but who himself is now lackadaisical with regards to his poor health. There would have been few people that night who would not have been moved by Subhash's heartfelt performance for the man who quietly sat amongst them in the audience.
Playwright Javed Siddiqui's forte lies in exploring man-woman relationships in their varied shades. It was no surprise therefore to find his short piece titled THE LOVERS (Hindi) doing the same although in a superficial manner. Directed by K.K. Raina, the cast was made up of four characters played by Ganesh Yadav, Divya Jagdale, Ila Arun and Rajit Kapur. The plot was simple. Boy (Ganesh Yadav) and girl (Divya Jagdale) desire to marry but the girl's mother (Ila Arun) is against the marriage. She however agrees to meet the boy and his father (Rajit Kapur) in a restaurant where it is finally revealed that she was against the marriage because the boy's father had once spurned her in the face of traditional norms. In short, trite humour finds its resonance in a filmi situation. The actors nevertheless did a good job in spite of Ganesh Yadav appearing to be older than Rajit Kapur!