By Deodatta V. Shenai-Khatkhate
Recently, we were presented with a great opportunity to see a highly thought- provoking play, “Char Choughi” produced by Natyaranga, at the Diwali program of New England Marathi Mandal, MA. It was truly an unforgettable experience for entire audience.
This play is written by Prashant Dalvi, an acclaimed Marathi playwright. Its plot is set in early 1990s, and it revolves around four protagonist women and the life they lead in a male- dominated society of India. These four women are from the same family; viz. Aai or the mother, and her three daughters.
The central character, Aai, is a strong-minded Mother, who has given birth to her three daughters out of wed-lock, and has successfully raised them to become strong and independent-minded just like her. Aai’s role was played remarkably well by Madhu Nene, one of the very highly talented stage actresses from our New England area. Madhu very skillfully portrayed all the strengths and the weaknesses of Aai, as if that role was scripted with her in mind. The second leading character is the eldest daughter Vidya, a mother of a baby girl. Vidya is currently filing for divorce because of her husband’s infidelity. Vidya’s challenging role was played very eloquently by the most capable and exceptionally skillful stage-actress Rucha Londhe. It’s noteworthy that Rucha offered an excellent elegance and a beautiful finesse to Vidya’s character with her exemplary acting.
It’s really impressive that all the artists offered their best performances, by going beyond the expectations of their roles, and leaving the audience totally spellbound at various capturing moments during the play. The performances by Suparna Agnihotri, Eesha Ingle, Ashish Panke, Mahesh Kelkar and Aniket Joshi were certainly outstanding and absolutely natural. There are numerous special moments and surprising twists in the play, which touch your heart, and leave a brilliant mark etched on your mind forever. It’s a breathtaking experience that is simply too difficult to capture in words.
The direction by Rahul Joshi was unquestionably outstanding. Like a skillful Maestro d’orchestra, Rahul brought out the best of all the talented actors, and created a masterpiece. The set designs, the costumes and the props were meticulous and most appropriate, carefully crafted by Shashank Nene and his team (Prasad Deshpande, Vivek Joshi, Rajesh Godbole and Sunil Kadam), Kudos to Shashank and his team, for their commendable thoughtfulness and praiseworthy research. The mood-evoking music and sound effects by Saket Joshi and Anish Khanzode, as well as the light arrangements by Sudhanwa Agwekar, were truly magical. In my view, the success of Natyaranga artists lies in the fact that the audience immediately began to connect with all the characters and the plot, despite being from entirely different time zones and socioeconomic frames of reference.
Our congratulations to all the artists, for creating such an awesome work of art that will always be remembered. What’s amazing and most notable is the fact that all these artists have taken great efforts and found time, in spite of their hectic schedules involving both personal and professional commitments, so as to provide us with such a wonderful experience. We do hope that Natyaranga continues to offer such excellent plays that enrich our art and cultural environment in New England area.