The Show Will Go On

Marathi actor Prashant Damle has set a world record for doing maximum number of stage shows.

The plot of Marathi play Gela Madhav Kunikade is akin to any Bollywood slapstick comedy: Madhav has two wives and neither is aware of the other's existence until an accident threatens to reveal this truth. However, for Marathi actor and singer Prashant Damle, who plays the role of Madhav, the play has been a career-defining one. For his perfect comic timing in this play, the veteran actor won the Maharashtra State Award in 1993. Nearly two decades later, on Saturday evening, the staging of this play marked his career's 10,700th show. With the show held at the Ravindra Natya Mandir, his name has now made it to the Guiness Book of World Records for doing maximum number of stage shows.

Damle, who has achieved four Limca records, notes that it was a planned move. "I registered with the Guiness Book of World Records in December last year and sent them all the proofs required. When I got a confirmation from them within a week, I was elated," he recollects, adding that he didn't make the cut when he first tried for the same record in the year 2005. "That year, there was a Japanese theatre artiste who had 10,000-plus shows to his credit, whereas I had completed only 7,777 shows. But I didn't lose heart and chose to concentrate on my work," says the actor, whose career spanning three decades started with the play Turtur in 1983.

The feat in itself was celebrated with much fanfare as he had invited his near and dear ones to join him on Saturday. "It is not just an achievement for me but also for Marathi theatre. Among those present at the function were Chief Minister Prithviraj Chauhan; Home Minister of Maharashtra, RR Patil; and politicians Nitin Gadkari and Raj Thackeray," he said.

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