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A homeless king on the Mumbai stage

The Marathi comedy was performed as part of the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

mumbai Updated: Feb 05, 2018 00:08 IST
Prakruti Maniar
Prakruti Maniar
Hindustan Times
Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival,Astitva,Marathi comedy
House Gull being performed at the NGMA auditorium on Sunday.(Hemanshi Kamani/ HT)

There’s so much that goes into moving houses — realtors, agents, municipal officers. In House Gull, it is a king who is struggling to vacate an unauthorised castle.

The Marathi comedy presented by Astitva and produced by theatre group Improvisation Mumbai, was performed in the tamasha folk theatre format as part of the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, on Sunday.

“The play uses a traditional storytelling device, in which the characters of the king and his family explore an issue that affects the modern urban man,” said Ravi Mishra, who heads Astitva.

On stage, the monarch, dressed in a Superman suit in keeping with the comic setting, is suddenly told to leave his castle because its construction was never authorised. To try and sort things out, the king, queen, advisor and council of ministers travel to Mumbai, where they go through a roller-coaster of red tape, face fraudulent real-estate agents and finally buy a piece of land — which turns to be agricultural so they must vacate it too.

In the end, the king is left without a house.

“What is more relevant to the city dweller of today than the issue of home ownership? So we thought of taking it up,” said Vinod Jadhav, 36, writer and director of the play.

For theatre section curator Juuhi Babbar Sonii, the medium was almost as important as the message. “We see such amazing talent in regional-language theatre, and we were determined to offer a platform to as much of it as possible,” she said. “Marathi theatre today has a lot of good, progressive scripts, but needs publicity. A platform like Kala Ghoda is immensely helpful,” added Jadhav.

The show ran to a packed house at the National Gallery of Modern Art, with near-constant laughter and intermittent applause. “I watch a lot of romantic dramas and comedies, and I’m really happy to see that a regional-language play is getting such a tremendous response at a mainstream festival,” said Shashikant Gaikwad, 31, an advocate from Sandhurst Road.

First Published: Feb 05, 2018 00:08 IST