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Bharat Jadhav (playing Madan Sukhatme, Ranga, Hari and Galgale)
One might say Bharat Jadhav was instrumental in making me an admirer of Marathi natak and plays. Two of the plays featuring him are still etched in my mind, one being ‘Shreemant Damodar Pant‘ and the other being ‘Sahi re Sahi‘. Jadhav is extraordinarily hilarious, though the jokes he makes are over-the-top, repetitive and mostly mixed with an extra dose of overacting. Waipha, Kahichya kahi, ugach will be the perfect words to describe them. He does, however, manage to make the audiences laugh and his facial expressions, combined with his spot-on comic timing, just make even a no-nonsense critic see things on a lighter note. The last play of Jadhav I watched must have been way back in 2006 or even earlier. ‘Punha sahi re sahi‘ was just a way for me to revisit those memories.
The plot of the play is pretty simple: A rich man named Madan Sukhatme finds out about his wife’s affair with his own PA. The wife accidentally hits Madan on his head and his PA tries to dispose his body. However, the huge box in which they keep the body falls down a hill (along with the truck). Turns out, he had made three different wills, each non-dated and allocating the rights to his property and money to three different people. One was on his uncle’s name, who took care of Madan in his childhood, other on his first wife and the last on his second wife (the one caught cheating). To get their share of the property, all three parties get in touch with a Madan look-alike for their own personal gains. The first wife happens to meet Galgale (an amazing character. “Galgale ale, Galgale gele, Galgale nighale!!!” is something you will definitely remember.), the second wife and the PA try to get the truck driver Ranga to be Madan while his uncle realises from the get-go how Madan has started looking a lot like this guy he knows, Hari. The confusion reaches at its peak when the real Madan Sukhatme returns and you have to watch the play to know what follows (too many spoilers already!).
The play is something you must definitely experience. It is a rib-tickling comedy and generates enough interest to make one sit through it all, without experiencing any dull moment. Although, the jokes are very repetitive, Jadhav manages to make them work. He steals the cake (I know I have said this already but he has managed to create a fan out of me). More than the comic timing, it is Bharat Jadhav’s ability to change costumes and go from one character to another within seconds that amazes everyone. It is almost like a magic show; one moment he is in the right block portraying one character and within seconds you spot him elsewhere, playing a different one. Bharat Jadhav’s performance is laudable. He never goofs up his lines, is always in character (it is no joke playing four characters simultaneously) and holds his cool each time. Kamaal karto toh! Kahar manus ahe harach. He makes playing multiple roles in a play seem like a cakewalk (too much cake. Bhuk laglie mala! Anna jewaila, jewaila, jewaila!!). The other characters add to the humour, especially the lawyer Lele. The sets are well designed and everything about the play is good, even the dance sequences! They seem to have added some political satire to the play, which got the audiences tickling and although there were times I wasn’t laughing at all, the theatre was erupting with laughter. To each his own, the natak manages to get everyone laughing, so why bother? Ugich vait ka na bolaicha, haslat tar phaslat!
Whether you enjoy such humour or not, whether over-the-top, mindless comedies are something you enjoy or hate, the play is a must-watch. If you ever find out that the play is being staged at a theatre near you, do watch it (even if the venue is miles away, do make the commute). Marathi theatre was never this much fun!