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Monday, 31 October 2011

Marathi play on corruption gets Anna Hazare’s blessings

MUMBAI: Anna Hazare has found echoes of his India Against Corruption crusade in Ibsen's The Enemy of the People. The Gandhian recently attended the mahurat of Kondi, the Marathi adaptation of Ibsen's masterpiece, which is a searing account of a lone crusader's fight against corruption , at a simple function in Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar. Kondi will premiere in Mumbai sometime next month.

'' Hazare was keen to know the plot of Kondi. When we briefed him about the play, he said, 'It appears that Ibsen was concerned about the issue of corruption nearly a century ago.' He wanted to go through the entire script,'' said Marathi actor Shekhar Naware , who is helming the revival of Kondi. Navare and his team drove down to Ralegan Siddhi to call on Hazare. Vijay Kuwalekar and Suresh Pathare, Hazare's close aides, did the spadework for the meeting.

Hazare agreed to break the coconut , marking the play's mahurat . He suggested that the ritual be performed near Mahatma Gandhi's bronze bust. '' Hazare speaks in soft tones. Sometimes, he was almost inaudible. His staff and the entire set-up at the Baba Yadav temple (Hazare's pad in Ralegan Siddhi) works with clockwork precision. There was no confusion , no hassles,'' Naware added.

Kondi was first staged in Mumbai in the 1970s under the aegis of the Indian National Theatre (INT). The well-known theatre group specially invited the legendary Sombhu Mitra-who had staged the Bengali adaptation of The Enemy of the People in West Bengal-to direct Ashok Shahane's Marathi adaptation. Satyajit Ray's Ganashatru, too, is based on Ibsen's play.

Experts point out that barring few exceptions, popular Marathi theatre hasn't much dabbled in political plays. Vijay Tendulkar's Ghashiram Kotwal examines the dynamics of unbridled power and its gross misuse by those holding high offices. G P Deshpande's Uddhwasta Dharmashala discusses the dilemma of a Leftist intellectual who is torn between dogma and personal belief.


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