Play it again
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The trend of reviving Marathi theatre classics is bringing crowd back to auditoriums
When noted actor Sunil Barve launched his project 'Herbarium' in 2010 under which five Marathi classics namely Suryachi Pille, Lahanpan Dega Deva, Hamidabaichi Kothi, Andhala Daltay and Zhopi Gelela Jaga Jhala were revived, the theatre enthusiasts lined up early in the morning for advance booking.
"These plays hadn't been staged for years and when we did it, the response was tremendous. This proves that the Marathi theatre audience is nostalgic about classics. In fact, revival of classics is now the latest trend in Marathi theatre," says Barve, who has been associated with theatre for more than two decades. Following the enthusiastic response by the audience, Barve now intends to stage three of the plays again namely Suryachi Pille, Hamidabaichi Kothi and Zhopi Gelela Jaga Jhala, with two shows each.
According to Marathi theatre actor-producer Neelam Shirke, theatre is like fashion. It has some classics that never go out of style and keep re-emerging along side new trends. Shirke began reviving plays such as Barrister, Moruchi Maushi, Purush and Mahasagar nearly a year ago. Her project will revive 50 such plays over the next five years, with noted actors like Vikram Gokhale, Mohan Joshi and Neena Kulkarni turning director. "A lot of people have told me that the project was too ambitious and that it would not work. When I see the kind of response we are getting, I feel a sense of achievement. The shows often get sold out on the first day of booking; which is a great sign," she says.
Apart from Barve, Shirke, several other theatre producers too are bringing old, popular Marathi theatre back on stage. Some of the plays that are being revived are over half a century old. They were written by theatre stalwarts such as Jaywant Dalvi, Vasant Kanetkar, Baban Prabhu, Govind Ballal Deval and others. Some plays are even older, such as Sangeet Saunshaykallol, which was written by Govind Ballal Deval over 90 years ago.
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