Act 100

Sangeet Maanapmaan, a play first staged by Balgandharva in 1911, revisited by classical singer Rahul Deshpande

A 100-year-old play will come alive on the city stage. The military commander, the characters of Bhamini and Laxmi and the protagonist - Classical Music - will make Pune's loyal theatre audience go back to the time of Balgandharva. It was Balgandharva who first performed the play - Sangeet Maanapmaan written by Kakasaheb Khadilkar - in 1911. The revised version of the play - an iniative by classical singer Rahul Deshpande - will have him (Deshpande) in the lead role of Dhairyadhar.

Deshpande has previously worked on the revival of Marathi plays - Katyar Kaljat Ghusali and Sangeet Sanshyakallol. "Sangeet Maanapmaan is the most loved musical play. Audiences have only appreciated it more over time. Thus, I took it up as a challenge to revisit the play and do this role," Deshpande says.

In the past, the play has been taken up by eminent singers like Keshavrao Bhosale, Deenanath Mangeshkar and Chota Gandharva. Originally, the play has five parts with around 52 classical songs. Deshpande's version will have two parts and 22 classical songs. Special effects and background screens to show the various scenes have been incorporated. "Fewer props and more modern visualisation technology will be used," Deshpande says.

The first performance of this play, directed by Nipun Dharmadhikari and produced by Deshpande, will be held on December 18 at Yashwantrao Chavan Auditorium, Kothrud, at 5 pm. Four more shows will follow after which it will travel to other parts of the state.

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