Saturday 6 January 2024

Charchaughi- Marathi play staged in Panvel (Navi Mumbai) on 30.12.2023

 Male chauvinism- Take the bull by the horns

(हिन्दी में समीक्षा के लिए   यहां क्लिक करें क्रम सं. 40 देखें  ) 

When the curtain is raised from the stage, it actually undresses the most audacious way of tackling the gender bias. The whole lump of gender bias is shattered to pieces after horrible head-on collisions from several corners. When the fair sex takes something on her prestige then she can more than equate to men in all respects either good or bad.

You may raise eyebrows, you may get nonplussed but the course of actions taken by the four women here are not off the wall. If the viewer is a male some arguments may seem to him nauseating but he should think why he does not vomit when the same thing is practised by men in a large scale.

Here is a family of a mother who is living with her three grown-up daughters come from her relationship with a married man. The woman leaves independently and has raised her daughters well in terms of providing amenities and education. The play is divided in three parts means there are two intervals in the show. Each part is presenting a unique form of man-woman relationship maintained by each of the daughter.

The eldest daughter has chosen a very handsome husband who is always there with his good-looking face but no earning. He never stays in a job for more than two weeks. His wife is a professor and earns the daily bread for the family. The problem has arisen because the man does nothing but have impregnated his better half. Moreover he is completely against abortion. Putting aside the universal moral hazards with abortion just for a second, see it in the context of man-woman relationship. Whether a woman has an ownership on her body or not? The husband shows his fierce stance on the issue and a very boisterous argument erupts. Is a man a man only because he has the ability to take pleasure with his wife on the bed or also because he should be able to share the responsibilities of the family? The ugly conjugal altercation is put down only when the old mother gives a bitter mouthful to her son-in-law. Somehow abortion idea is dropped.

The second daughter suffers from a failed marriage but shows the courage of leaving her abusive husband and coming to her mother's house. The large part of this act consists of her very very long telephonic conversation with her husband. She goes emotional and romantic intermittently in her talk. The vivid depiction of traumas of breaking family is heart-wrenching. She does not want to stay with her cheating husband still there are many sweet moments with him haunting her all the time. She does not want to live away with her child but at the same time she does not want to allow her wrongful husband to get rid of his responsibility. A very delicate and painful solution is reached but there is no way other than it.

The case of the third daughter is the most interesting for the show but at the same time the most distasteful in man's real world. She has two male friends- one matches her intellectual frequency and other ignites her passion. So she wants to marry both the men live a threesome life. The case of this young woman is different from the Padmini of Girish Karnad's 'Hayabadan'. In that play, Padmini is  successful in cobbling together both of supreme intellect and supreme physique in a single person. But here the woman goes one step further and wants to live with two different male partners at a time. What happens when she expresses her desire to the two male partners and her mother? To know this, you should watch the play.

Prashant Dalvi's script in 'Chauchaughi" was far ahead of the era 30 years ago when it was written and still many decades have to elapse before we really reach such an advance(?) stage of civilisation as shown in this play. The director Chandrakant Kulkarni has put it on the stage as emphatically as intended by the playwright. The very very long telephonic talk scene is serious but not boring because of the dexterity of the director. The scene is crafted in a way that the actor moves around one room to another during the long whole conversation.The legendary actress of 'Gandhi' movie fame Rohini Hattangady has forcefully impersonated a woman with grit and strength. She is not in this world to bear any masculine nonsense. Kadambari Kadam, Parna Pethe, Ninad Limaye, Shreyas Raje, Parth Ketkar and Mukta Barve have lived up their characters in an absolutely realistic way.  The music support by Ashok Patki has also added value to this play.

Since many years I was curious to see how the strong women taken on this man's world and I was fully satisfied by the remarkable deliverance of the play. I too am living in our present era and certainly not agree to all the proposed solutions in this play but I wont mince my words in saying that the whole scenario of this play matches truly to our evolving society. See, if it not good then we must do something to avoid it otherwise we should allow happily in the society. Anyway, the crowd of jolted viewers coming out of the auditorium was the testimony of the booming success of the play.

Review by - hemant Das 'Him'
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