Vinod Doshi, an eminent industrialist and Chairman of The Premier Automobiles Ltd, (now known as Premier Ltd), represents a rare combination of technical expertise and aesthetic sensibilities. His passion for amateur theatre and experimental cinema led to a close interaction with playwrights, actors, directors and technicians.
Vinod became deeply involved in various aspects connected with experimental theatre and cinema – screenplays, sound effects, lighting, rehearsals, translations and acting. Dr Saryu Doshi, a noted art historian, shared her husband Vinod’s interests. During the late 60’s and early 70’s many play readings and post-show parties were held at their home. With increasing corporate responsibilities, his involvement in theatre gradually lessened over time.
To celebrate his passion for theatre, Premier Ltd has established an annual, five day theatre festival in his memory, titled the Annual Vinod Doshi Memorial Theatre Festival, since the last five years. The 6th festival, organised by the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation in association with Premier Ltd will be held at the Yashwantrao Chavan Natya Natyagruha, Kothrud, Pune from February 24-28, 2014. This year, the festival presents an eclectic mix of topics and tones, from established as well as budding directors. For the first time in the festival’s history will be an English play, thereby promising to entertain an even bigger group of audience.
This year, the Annual Vinod Doshi Memorial Theatre Festival will open with Sangeet Garvanirvaan. Though this play, based on Bhakta Prahlada, was written more than one hundred years ago, even today it finds a connect with its audience. Day two will see the brilliant performance of versatile actor Kulbhushan Kharbanda in Atmakatha. Kharbanda, who plays the role of an award-winning writer in Atmakatha, is seen narrating his life’s story and its numerous ups and downs to a young researcher.
On day three, witness the various versions and viewpoints of truth through the eyewitnesses of a rape and murder. That’s Rashomon Blues for you, the Modern-day adaptation of the legendary Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 classic period drama Rashomon. On day four, watch the lifelong dream of Patol Babu come true in Taramandal. This simple play, which is sure to find a connect with everyone in the audience, is based on Patol Babu, Film Star, a short story by Satyajit Ray. The Festival comes to a close with Bandish, where five completely different people, with varied moods and personalities, come together. And, in all this, the elements of time and space are questioned.
Determined to infuse character and vibrancy, the Festival Director, has carefully selected the best directors in Maharashtra and widened the horizon with contributions from Kolkata and Delhi. The lines of performances are a reflection of each director’s unique style. ‘The Vinod Doshi Memorial Theatre Festival has come to be recognised as the litmus test for first-rate theatre’, says Girish Karnad, well known Playwright.
Written by Ram Ganesh Gadkari, directed by Hrishikesh Joshi, music scored by Narendra Bhide and produced by Hrishikesh Joshi
on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 7:30 pm. Language: Marathi| Duration: 130 minutes, plus intermission. CAST: Avinash Narkar, Ajay Purkar, Nikhil Ratnaparkhi, .Amol Parchure, Srujan Datar, Shivani Kulkarni, Manasi Joshi and others.
In 1911, a very young Ram Ganesh Gadkari penned Sangeet Garvanirvaan. In 1913, the play was ready to be staged; however, due to a turn of events, its staging was cancelled at the last moment. An angry and upset Gadkari burnt all the copies of the script. But, today, after more than a century, Sangeet Garvanirvaan is all set to enthrall its audience.
The play is based on the mythological story of Bhakta Prahlada, one of the greatest devotees ever. Gadkari has taken the essence of drama to another level by emphasising on certain aspects, such as Prahlad’s devotion, his mother Kayadhu’s love for him, and Hiranyakashyipu’s ego. The story has been made more engaging and layered by adding in several sub-plots in it.
The confrontation of two generations, a fact that remains true in every age and era, is beautifully written and displayed through the father’s devotion to Lord Shiva and son’s commitment to Lord Vishnu.
Written by Mahesh Elkunchwar
Directed by Vinay Sharma
Produced by Padatik & Rikh
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Language: Hindi |Duration: 130 minutes, plus intermission
CAST: Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Anubha Fatehpuria & Sanchayita
Rajadhyaksha, a nationally acclaimed writer, is dictating his autobiography to Pradnya – a young researcher who has chosen his works as the topic for her thesis.
The writer and his wife Uttara separated thirty years earlier because of a brief relationship between Rajadhyaksha and Uttara’s sister Vasanti. Rajadhyaksha has published a novel depicting these events, where Uttara/Vasanti become the semi-fictional Urmila/Vasudha. The book makes their relationships a source of gossip and discussion for the press and public. Uttara and Vasanti have since reconciled but one day the past resurfaces. As all four characters look at their own lives, different layers and versions of the truth emerge revealing all of them trapped in their own ‘cycle of torment’.
Written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Directed by Bijon Mondal
Adapted by Rameshchandra Shah
Produced by Ranga Theatre, Mumbai
Wednesday , February 26, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Language: Hindi |Duration: 100 minutes, plus intermission
CAST: Nagesh Bhosle, Kirti Kulhari, Vineet Sharma, Salone Mehta, Pavitra Sarkar ,Shailesh Singh,
Samiksha Bhatnagar & Ritika Murthy
Set in the milieu of contemporary Mumbai, Rashomon Blues is the Modern-day adaptation of legendary Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 classic period drama Rashomon. A notorious criminal beats up a sword fighter and his wife, and it ends up in a rape and murder. A trial takes place, each witness testifies, and, surprisingly, the testimonies presented vary. Finally, the fourth witness, the one who, in fact, found the body, shares that he saw the entire incident, and, interestingly, his version is also completely different from that of the rest. So, this leaves the audience with a number of questions. Who is saying the truth? What is the truth? Rashomon Blues is reflective of the deep concern about humanity in a civilised society, and the viewpoint of each witness of the event.
Written by Neel Chaudhuri
Directed by Neel Chaudhuri
Produced by The Tadpole Repertory, New Delhi
Based on the Original Story Patol Babu, Film Star by Satyajit Ray
Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Language: English, Hindi & Bengali |Duration: 110 minutes, plus intermission
CAST: Andrew Hoffland, Bikram Ghosh, Kirti Panth, Mallika Taneja, Neel debdutt Paul & Tarun Sharma
Inspired by Satyajit Ray’s short story Patol Babu, Film Star, Taramandal is the tale of Patol Babu and his opportunity to realise his lifelong dream.
Fifty-year-old Patol Babu has led an extremely unglamorous life. This jaded man’s passion for acting never really went beyond a few theatre performances as a child in his local community group or at school. But, one day, he finally gets the opportunity to play a role in a film — a walk-on role of a pedestrian. Though a highly insignificant part, he immediately grabs this opportunity with utmost happiness.
Taramandal, a simple story, is further enhanced with the construction of parallel narratives that personify or mirror Patol Babu — from the protagonist in his younger days to people just like him. All these stories of failed ambition in the area of theatre, films and television come together through his one single walk-on opportunity.
This beautiful story of failed dreams and that one special chance to fulfill them, won Neel Chaudhuri the Hindu MetroPlus Playwright Award in 2010.
Written by Rajeev Naik
Directed by Mohit Takalkar
Produced by Aasakta Kalamanch, Pune
Friday, February 28, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Language: Marathi| Duration: 105 minutes
CAST: Kiran Yadnyopavit, Devika Daftardar, Abhay Mahajan, Mrinmayee Godbole & Gauri Lagoo
The word bandish means ‘something that binds’ and connects the disconnected. Bandish, the play is a bonding, a composition. It is about five individuals from different walks of life, different generations, sexes, professions, attitudes and ideals, who constantly yet compassionately grapple with each other. Each of them has a distinct mood. While somebody is depressed, someone aspires, somebody is carnal, someone cerebral, and somebody understands.
These five characters display the various possibilities and paradoxes of life, while still being an integral part of society. They express, understand and help…communicate, collaborate and change. Their concerns and anxieties are due to themselves, but not always their doing. Transcending time is what man constantly does. Bandish brings to the forefront the concept of time. Different aspects of life, such as remembering, forgetting, nostalgia about and refusal of the past, curiosity and anxiety about the future, confronting the present, and being almost obsessed with memory, are displayed in the play. And, amidst all this, we are left with one important question — is the space so restricted and the time so limited?