Come gaNeshotsav, all yuva members get together to put up a play for a marathi one act play competition held by Maharashtra mandal bangalore. I have been in bangalore for 5 years now and have not missed a single chance to participate. I was committed even this year.
Like every year, it takes a while to get people to come together as everyone would crib about the amount of work they already have. The reason or rather, the trigger for all of us every year is different. This year it was a fantastic Sci-Fi concept from Sujay n pramod. Time Travel.
In the first theme discussion meeting that I attended pramod had written a short story from the concept that was on their mind. Pramod read the script and each one in the meeting reacted in a completely different manner. Most of us just lost it somewhere in the middle. Some of us thought it does not make sense at all, some of us had clarifications. The basic plot was explained atleast 10 times between 15 of us. Lot of questions were asked, and interestingly people had different answers to all of them. At one point, it was a complete chaos, then the guyz just decided to stop, but their wives were shouting supporting their hubby's point. It was hilarious. The discussion went on for about 4 hours that night, and we came up with a little bit detailed sequence of scenes/events. At the end of the meeting, everyone was so much thrilled and involved that we all knew that this meeting was the trigger.
By the time actual practises started, we had only 2 weeks left for our slot in the competition. We knew making a Sci-fi requires a lot of technicalities and perfect execution of those. The main actors had lot of work to make sure sci-fi concepts reach the audience in its right intention. On top of everything, the script was still evolving. Every day, someone would come up with a good point and pramod will sit n incorporate the changes. Almost everyday, we (actors) would have to start mugging new lines. I just cant imagine the pressure of all this on the director, sujay.
But Everyday, we would make some good progress either on the script, music pieces, sets or actors being able to get the feel for the play. The story required to disappear characters from the stage and a time machine that would have some flashy lights n music when on the stage. This was new, everyone contributed with creative ideas and to everyone's surprise, things were working.
The initial concept was just about, 2 people coming back from 2 different and mutually exclusive futures. There was no conclusive end to this story and initially we decided to just leave it open. But towards the last few days of the practise, we decided to give a completely different twist to the story. With every such change, we were gaining more confidence. All of us have completely different day-to-day jobs and so have other (and I think better) things to do, so noone was able to do any homework on this. Practises would start anytime between 9 - 12 pm and would go on for 2-3 hours minimum. The name for the play was not decided until we had to record the announcement piece just 4 days before the show.
The night before the show the dress rehearsal was good and the sets people worked on the craftings the entire night. On Sept 2nd, 2006, our performance rocked!! sleek!... everything that was planned was executed to the perfection. All actions/reactions, music/lights was on time. The audience was completely stunned. The theme and the entire package was completely new to the audience. We did not expect everyone to understand the play anyway, how many people understood hollywood movie, Matrix the first time they watched it. :) We all enjoyed every bit of it.
The competition had 4 other plays and 2 of them were really comparable. On 6th Sep, the results were announced. We took half of the prizes.
2nd Best Drama - Yuva
Best Direction - Sujay
Best Actor - Nikhil
Best Sets- Meenakshi, Anagha, Namita
Best Lights - Kaustubh, Sagar
Best Music - Preeti, Kedar
Outstanding performance in the competition - me.
I had also acted in a short 3 minute role in the drama that received the 'best drama'... so, it was a great day for me.
Famous actor, Dr. Mohan Agashe, was invited as the chief guest for this festival and his event was scheduled the next day after our play. We invited him to come n see our performance and he graciously agreed. The next day we met him to get some feedback, He was really impressed. He looked at me n said "your acting was good". Thats some complement. :)
I have done many many plays till date, but only 2 in which I was involved right from the point when the script was being written, one was my first ever play, LIMIT, which is in the history of the most famous competition in pune, purushottam karandak and the second is this one. All my plays are really special to me and am really glad that there is one more completely different experience to add to the list.