As children we had recited a poem which begins as “Johnny, Johnny..Yes, Papa, eating sugar? No, Papa!”. I know, the title of the blog is “The man who had sugar”, not the boy. But fun apart, the title is the translation of the name of a new Marathi play called Sakhar Khallela Manus(साखर खाल्लेला माणूस). Today as well I getting to write a blog on this play which I watched over the weekend at, no other than, Pune’s iconic, historic theater called Balgandharva Rangmandir. I got to watch a play at this theater after quite some time. I used to watch plays very regularly there in the past. Recently this theater celebrating its 50th year. The foundation stone was put by none other than Balgandharva himself. There was a 5 day celebration arranged last month, which I could not visit; hence I felt nostalgic, after visiting it.
So this play is starred by famous theater artist Prashant Damle and Shubhangi Gokhale. Both are my favorite actors. I don”t think I watched Shubhangi Gokhale on stage in the past; she has not done much of work on stage. But I have watched Prashant Damle many times in the past. I have also watched him during his Limca record performance of acting in 5 plays on a single day few years back. BTW, he has his own website, and in fact, I booked tickets for this play on that website itself. This play was launched last year. In fact, it also just made a trip to London recently. The play is advertised as sugar coated black comedy. The play is neither sugar coated nor black comedy. It is certainly a comedy-how can it not be a comedy, when you have Prashant Damle in it. But is a comic treatment of a middle aged person who is detected diabetes. The popular notion is that one should reduce sugar intake, in general, especially, when diabetes is detected. This is certainly knee jerk reaction.
I remembered watching a play(वाजे पाऊल आपुले) long time back, on a similar theme. That play had handled a case of middle aged person getting heart disease, and how he deals with it. I believe it was staged by Pune’s old troupe called Progressive Dramatic Association and main lead was Dilip Vengurlekar. It was written(actually adapted from English play Send Me No Flowers by Norman Barasch and Caroll Moore) by famous Marathi author Vishram Bedekar. Sakhar Khallela Manus is a play of a higher middle class family, where middle aged husband, who is senior executive in a private insurance company, is detected diabetes one day. Then his ever-caring wife and others in the family get onto a roller-coaster ride with hyper, and over-reaction and make his life miserable. The play brings waves of laughter from the audience throughout, as many in audience are able to relate to the situation.
Prashant Damle is master in creating humor due to his actions, synchronized dialog delivery which is perfectly timed. He has full scope for doing all these while playing a character in this play. His co-star Shubhangi Gokhale also supports him well. It is a fast moving play, hardly any breather. The love affair of the couple’s daughter is another side theme of this play. The over-possessive father and his relation with the daughter is also nicely portrayed. The audience is stuck to the chair due to humor created in every scene and energetic given-n-take among the actors. Prashant who loves singing, has sung in this play too. One minor error which I could notice was that, he recites slogan statement of Life Insurance Corporation of India(LIC, जिदंगी के साथ भी, जिंदगी के बाद भी) in the course of a dialog, while he is not with LIC, but with some private insurance company.
We also took opportunity to walk around recently renovated and beautified section of the J M Road near the theater. The whole day it was raining. The late evening walk by this new wet road was pleasant. The renovated section is quite spaced and done beautifully. Hope it remains that way. Anyways, coming back to the play. I had written a blog about Prashant’s another play sometime back(कार्टी काळजात घुसली). You might be interested in looking to other blogs by me on the theater here.