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Song, dance and guerrilla tactics: Shivaji takes the stage

mumbai Updated: Oct 05, 2016 12:20 IST
Riddhi Doshi

The 25th show of Shivrudrache Digvijayi Tandav will be staged at Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi, on October 11.(HT Photo)

It is July 13, 1660. The resources at Fort Panhala, captured by Shivaji, are exhausted. Siddi Jauhar, a commander in the army of Bijapur’s Afzal Khan, has sieged the fort. Our Maratha hero must escape to continue his fight for Swarajya (self-rule).

The Marathi musical with 42 songs has been staged at IIM Ahmedabad, Akalkot, Parbani and in Nerul and Bhayander. (HT Photo)

The situation is dire. Luckily Shivaji’s barber Shiva Kashid, is the Maratha ruler’s lookalike. A plan is hatched. Kashid dresses like Shivaji, allowing two parties to exit the fort from different areas. Kashid tricks Jauhar’s army into following him, not Shivaji. It’s the ultimate sacrifice; Shivaji’s escape means the barber is taken captive and historians believe, eventually executed.

Kashid’s valour and dedication is one of the many stories in the three-hour Marathi musical, Shivrudrache Digvijayi Tandav. Its 25th show will be staged at Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi, on October 11. The show is dedicated to the Indian soldiers posted along the border the and martyrs of the Uri attack. Proceeds from the sponsored initiative go to the Sainaik Kalyan Kendra, a government body that works for soldiers and their families’ welfare.

“There perhaps isn’t a more appropriate time to remember the brave leader, his followers and those willing to sacrifice it all for their motherland,” says director Padmashree Rao.

Each song in the musical, written and composed by Anil Nalawade, describes adventures of Shivaji’s life, his unsung supporters, Swarajya and war tactics. One song, dedicated to the warrior’s first wife Sai Bhosale, focuses on how a queen must feel about her husband’s frequent brushes with death.

Shivaji ruled in times of drought and plague. “Despite that, he fought for Swarajya and mastered guerrilla warfare, using his smaller army’s strengths and the geography of the Sahyadris,” says Rao.

Shivrudrache Digvijayi Tandav has been playing for five years, showing to students from IIM Ahmedabad, citizens of Akalkot, Sanagmer and Parbani and crowds at Nerul and Bhayander.

“Shivaji’s story, presented in any form, is liked by people as he was not just a war hero but also a tolerant ruler who worked for the welfare of his subjects,” says Raja Dixit, a historian and head of the interdisciplinary school of humanities and social sciences at University of Pune. Surprisingly, there’ hasn’t been a prominent musical about him. At 42 songs, this is one the Chhatrapati would approve.

WHERE: Ravindra Natya Mandir, PL Deshpande Auditorium, near Siddhivinayak Temple, Sayani Road, Prabhadevi
WHEN: October 11, 2 pm to 5 pm