The Common Man Speaks


Piano For Sale (Marathi Play) Review

Piano For Sale play

Director Aashish Kulkarni’s Marathi play Piano For Sale features veteran actresses Kishori Shahane Vij and Varsha Usgaonkar. They were two big names and contemporaries in Marathi cinema of the 1990s.

This is the first occasion where Shahane and Usgaonkar have shared the stage together. As the play has no other characters apart from them, there is no need to say that one would get to see their jugalbandi on stage.

But for a play or any piece of performing art for that matter it is the end product that needs to be impressive. The cast comes later. Let’s find out if Piano For Sale manages that.

The play is the Marathi adaptation of playwright Meher Pestonji’s English play of the same name. Sheila (Shahane) stays alone in the middle-class Byculla area of Mumbai. She is a dance teacher for mute and deaf students. She is quite content with her simple lifestyle, although she does experience feelings of loneliness here and there.

Anita (Usgaonkar) is the opposite of Sheila. She is married and has a daughter. They belong to the upper class and she is proud of her status.

Piano For Sale playSheila wants to sell off her old piano, for which she gives an advertisement. Anita gets interested in buying it and calls Sheila. While hanging up the call, Anita reveals her full name. This stuns Sheila since she and Anita have had a past and not a pleasant one at that.

Going by its interesting storyline, it is not surprising to see the reason for adapting the play from another language. Just when you think that the story will continue based on the conflict that was established early on, it takes you by surprise through a twist in the second act (post interval).

The end result turns out to be moving as it compels you to think on the idea of winners and losers in matters of love and life.

Needless to say, when the entire play is only about conversation between two characters, the script needs to be engaging and this is what happens for the majority of the duration. The dialogues and the subtle dark humour are enough to keep you engaged.

It is only on few occasions that the transition from one topic to another isn’t entirely smooth though. Also, the massive transformation of one character later on is a bit questionable.

A lot of thought has gone into the rich set designing. The interiors of both the houses – of Sheila and Anita – are realistic. Coming to the lights, it was a smart idea to dim the brightness whenever the conversation became intense and conflicting. The sounds of piano go well with the subject and the title.

Needless to say, the play demanded both Shahane and Usgaonkar to be on top of their games. The two actresses have complemented each other well and, in doing so, have provided convincing performances.

Overall: Piano For Sale is an interesting and thought-provoking play.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director and English adaptation: Aashish Kulkarni

Original playwright: Meher Pestonji

Producers: Digital Detoxx

Cast: Kishori Shahane Vij and Varsha Usgaonkar

Varsha Usgaonkar, Kishori Shahane Vij


Darling Darling (Marathi Play) Review

Writer: Madhusudan Kalelkar

Direction: Pradeep Pawar

Production: Rupali R Lakhan, Sanjay Nevrejar

Cast: Shashikant Bhobekar, Pradeep Pawar, Sandeepa Gujjar, Manjusha Morgaonkar, Sujata Tulsankar, Sachin Kadam, Tushar Namaye, Rajeshri Kale

Rating: * * *

Plot: Prabhakar (Shashikant Bhobekar) pretends to be loyal to his wife (Sandeepa Gujjar). His wife is unaware that he is having an affair with a number of girls. Sharmila (Manjusha Morgaonkar) and Mona (Sujata Tulsankar) are two such girls. Prabhakar’s uncle, who is no more, has left Rs 50 lakh for him in his will. However, according to the condition put forth by his uncle, Prabhakar can lay his hands on the money only if he is loyal to his wife and living a happily married life.

All hell breaks loose for Prabhakar when one fine day both Sharmila and Mona land up at his house. Now, Prabhakar is in a fix as he has to hide his affairs from both his wife and the advocate. Will Prabhakar succeed or will he be forced to say good bye to his wife as well as the money?

Review: Themes on infidelity, where a husband tries hard to hide his affair, have become common over the years. So, when a comic play is based on such a story it is vital for the writing to be top-notch so as to deliver huge number of rib-tickling moments. Writer Madhusudan Kalelkar and director Pradeep Pawar’s Darling Darling provides that for the majority of the duration which surely makes it a one-time watch.

One of the good things about the writing is that the main plot is revealed soon. A large number of comic twists that follow manage to keep your interest alive. Both situational as well as crazy humour is used in abundance; almost in every line. A bunch of crazy characters and their weird traits are one of the major plus points.

Talking of flipsides, the duration should have been shorter, especially in the second half where the proceedings do appear tedious at few portions. Also, some of the lines and acts appear too over-the-top at certain post-interval portions. But since it’s a keep-your-brain-aside kind of an entertainer, such points shouldn't be considered as crime.

The play scores high on performances. Shashikant Bhobekar perfectly carries the proceedings on his shoulders with a commendable act. His comic timing is up to the mark. He is aptly supported by Pradeep Pawar who also displays good comic skills. Sandeepa Gujjar as his wife shows maturity. Manjusha Morgaonkar gives a confident performance as Prabhakar’s love affair.

Sujata Tulsankar does well too and so does Rajeshri Kale in the role of an overweight cop. But it is Sachin Kadam who turns out to be a surprise package. His crazy antics will have you in splits. Tushar Namaye and actors playing doctor and constable aren’t bad either.

Overall, Darling Darling will be liked by those who prefer mindless, over-the-top comedies. It deserves more publicity and promotion.