After almost two decades, The National Centre for Performing Arts is back with a theatre production. The city’s cultural hub has produced noted writer and director Sai Paranjpye’s Marathi play Aalbel, which is currently being staged at various locations in the city.
“We have been planning on returning for a while now. When we met Sai (Sai Paranjpye) in mid-August this year, we proposed the idea to her, and she agreed to come on board,” says Deepa Gahlot, head programming, NCPA.
Paranjpye, who is renowned for directing award-winning films like Sparsh (1980) and Chashme Buddoor (1981) reveals that this is the first time she has written a play in the shortest period of time.
“I am not a fast writer, but I finished writing this play in less than six months,” she says.
Interestingly, the title Aalbel, is taken from the Marathi colloquial substitute for the English phrase All Is Well.
“This word has crept in our usage and become quite common. I found it apt for the title of the play,” she says, adding that the play’s story unfolds in a prison and revolves around three men, including a contract killer and a school principal, who have been charged with murder.
“The story shows how all of them share a certain understanding despite coming from different backgrounds.”
The play also incorporates visual clips that appear at various stages in the play as flashbacks. At the staging of the play on December 24 and 25, NCPA, for the first time received the largest number of non-Marathi speaking audience for a play in the language.
“The response was excellent. We are working on three more productions in Hindi, English and Marathi which will be staged in May, August and November next year,” says Paranjpye.