Winter has arrived bringing with it the festive season for THEATRE. The Old World Culture Trust organized the annual event called theatre festival 2005 (Dec 2-11) which brought few critically acclaimed productions to Delhi.
The two parts (1 and 2) of the play “Sir, Sir, Sarla” by Makrand Deshpande was staged on the 8th and the 9th of December in the Stein Auditorium, Habitat Centre. Ansh Theatre Group is not a new guest to Delhi. They had come the previous year with the play “Sa hi Besura”, which had mesmerized the audience. It was probably because of this play that the hall was again swarming with people this time too. Sir, Sir Sarla is a play in Hindi which dwells on the eternal flame of Love, yet so new and fresh. The tale revolves around the relationship between Sir (Makrand Deshpande) and his students Fanidhar (Anurag Kashyap) and Sarla (Sonali Kulkarni). It is a beautifully interwoven love story coupled with humor, satire, reminiscent of the bygone era. The first part was full of comic elements, which kept the audience intrigued. The young and vibrant Sarla is in love with her favorite Sir and takes pride in being his student. She simply adores her professor and looks up to him with awe and admiration. But to spice up things we have Fanidhar (very funny) who has fallen for both Sir and Sarla. Like Sarla, he too admires the professor immensely and has fallen for Sarla’s charm. To add to the complications, we have a most enterprising and practical person, the eligible bachelor, Keshav, who has the entire qualities one can find in a husband. Thus, different facets of love were explored in the Play. Sarla, who has been the focal point for all the males in the play, impacts their life in her own way. Her childhood friend Fanidhar blames the Sir for their failure in Love, whereas Sir who himself had started falling for Sarla somehow coerces her to marry Keshav to follow a certain code of conduct. For the filthy rich Keshav, Sarla is a mere goal to be achieved which he finds challenging. This challenge is lost when Keshav marries her.
Ultimately nobody is happy with his or her lives. Sarla feels deprived in the materialistic world since she is a simple yet romantic literature student. Keshav fails to understand her. Hence they opt for a divorce.
The second scenario, part II of the Play deals with a more serious and dramatic version. Fanidhar had now become a professor and is haunted by Sarla’s love. The Sir had become old and Sarla had become a mother, still unhappy with her married life. On Sir’s request Fanidhar meets her husband and then the story takes its course.
The question finally raised is how much one has gained or lost in LOVE. The play has to be appreciated for bringing the softer relationship between the Teacher and the students. The play has certain level of intimacy portraying human feelings and captivates every heart. Since the play deals with Literature students, it is highly enriched with literary content. The audience was awestruck when the characters endlessly recited and quoted Vijay Tendulkar, lines from eminent plays like Sakharan Binder, Khamosh Adalat Zaari Hai, Baby, and the like. The whole play is realistic with elements of memory and nostalgia that goes to prove that Makrand Deshpande did justice not only to the direction but acting too. Sonali Kulkarni as Sarla and Anurag Kashyap as Fanidhar were outstanding in their performance. In the end, the one-minute silence shared by Sir and Sarla will be cherished not only by them, but also by us. On the whole, Makrand indeed was successful in creating a magic, bewitching the fortunate ones who witnessed the play. It was a handsome treat of Love and Romance, which is evergreen.