Girishian Rhapsody: Shivaji Underground In Bhimnagar Mohalla dazzles you

Girish Wankhede01 Aug 2012

They say that making a play is more difficult than making a movie. With no retakes possible, everything has to be well taken care of. One such exceptional play happens to be "Shivaji Underground In Bhimnagar Mohalla". Here, Girish gives his viewpoint of the play that mighty impressed him.

There are some good plays and then, some better. Eventually, one play comes which surpasses all basic notions of a regular Marathi Play and stands tall with its exceptional content. Shivaji Underground In Bhimnagar Mohalla is one such distinctive flair in recent times. It is forceful and brutal. The spirit is fearless and the rendering is purposefully aimed to initiate a dialogue. The context is a mix of historical euphemism and contemporary elements though with a strong backlash of academic alterations. The academic piece is so beautifully woven with the traditional form of drama that the overall impact stuns you. It shocks you with its core strength of in-face narrative and makes you sit and ponder. It’s artistic and takes the artistic liberty to a different level.

The content is the key. It is well scripted, well researched and brilliantly assembled. The entire flow follows the conventional Marathi setting of a drama but is loaded with some unconventional revelations. The conflict of Hindu Ideology with Ambedkarite movement is the crux. Along with flows the discord of Dalit and Muslim factions in all the years early from Shivaji’s inception as a King. The various myths surrounding Shivaji’s aura (read hyperbole) are ruthlessly assaulted by factual illustrations and it tends to project him as a calculative administrator with prudence and farsighted rather than a demi-God. His anti Muslim and pro Hindu stance is debated and the flow also emphasizes on his social commitment and progressive outlook with realism. Added to it, is the JAI BHEEM stand-point which dominates the entire act with raw display of its wrestling spirit and overriding fighting acumen. The clash of ideologies sends shockwave and the energy it creates on stage is just contagious. It reaches several flashpoints and waits for a reaction. It plays with fire in its entire run and brightly gets away with it.

The direction takes the art form to zenith. It clubs the controversial text with an endearing setting. The entire approach follows the tight pattern of popular drama albeit touching the purpose and meaning of underlying philosophy. The overall entertainment quotient is maintained with breathtaking pace and seasoned craftsmanship. It breaks the mould and shows great courage in handling such sensitive subject. The Actors (all newcomers from Jalna) are flawless and spirited. Their sense of script and timing is outstanding. But the credit; indeed goes to writer Rajkumar Tangde who spent two years working on script in isolation in his village. He is on fire. His vigour and anti-establishment fervour is terrific. His academic sense and study on the subject overwhelms you. He fires all salvos with one revelation after another and you are spellbound. The team is here to stay.

I met Producer Rahul Bhandare and Director Nandu Madhav after play and extended my compliments. Rahul has been in Industry for quite some time and has been associated with popular names like Siddharth Jadhav and Mahesh Manjarekar. His foray in this non-starrer pursuit is noteworthy. He is a young entrepreneur and is courageous enough to take some risks, which is need of an hour. Nandu Madhav, on other hand is an established player in Entertainment Industry and is already a household name after Harishchandrachi Factory. He debuts with this play as a Director and shows grit and strength. In fact, he has not been taking acting assignments for almost a year now owing to his preoccupation with this play. His commitment is intact and the experiment with new actors is wonderful. The whole play brings out new insights and dazzles you with the skill and charm. Don’t miss this.

Tags: Nandu MadhavOpinionReviewFeature

Girish Wankhede is Head of Marketing at Cinemax, a leading multiplex chain in India. He also looks after Film Promotions and Brand Alliances at Cinemax. Girish has been closely associated with the film industry for 15 years, including a stint in production and has unparalleled access to the people who create magic on screen, every Friday. A passionate movie lover and ardent music aficionado, Girish is someone who literally lives movies 24x7. He has pionered film special screenings in India and has been instrumental in hosting several film festivals of national and international repute, including MAMI during his tenure.

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