tT A A A
  • Venue
    Experimental Theatre
  • Date Time
    27 August 2023 | 7:00 pm
  • Age Limit
  • Member Price
    Rs 225/-
  • Non Member Price
    Rs 250/-
  • Duration
    75 mins

Event Details

Dramatic reading in Marathi

An NCPA Presentation

Written and presented by Satish Alekar

It is special that Satish Alekar’s new play ‘Thakishi Samvad’ is available in book form before the experiment. Because this is his first play published before the experiment. Another special feature is that the Marathi version of this play has already been translated into English by Shanta Gokhale under the name ‘Conversation with Dolly’ by Sigal Books of Kolkata. Alekar’s first play ‘Miki and Memsaheb’, 1973. That means his writing has completed 50 years.

The book published by Popular in Marathi has a foreword by Vaibhav Abnave. (It is also written in the English translation of the original, translated here into Marathi).  Reading this introduction is more of an independent intellectual experience than a drama. Abnave has told the characteristics of Alekar’s overall plays on the occasion of ‘Thakishi Samvad’, they are worth reading from the beginning.

According to me, the centre of the play ‘Thakishi Samvad’ is ‘2014’. Although 2014 is the apparent contemporary reference point of space in the play, the main proposition of the play is much broader than that. But even if we look at this drama in the context of 2014, we are very surprised. The change of power in 2014 is not the only reference to 2014. It also covers the past three decades of events that have radically changed the human mind, body and culture.

E.g. Religious polarisation in India around 1992 and Corona’s destructive epidemic in 2020-21. From feeding an idol of Ganesha to saying that Ganesha’s torso is plastic surgery and taking Darwin’s evolution out of India or frying pakoras on duct gas or starting a course in Indian Puranas in aeronautics in a madhouse like Pune; Demonstrations by students, teachers, scientists, journalists, artists, and sit-ins by Supreme Court judges. Or the Shaheen Bagh movement in Delhi and the farmers’ movement, all these things can be subsumed under the concept of ‘2014’. Along with this period, nanotechnology and internet-based technology excess and artificial intelligence etc.

So all these are in the background of the space of the play ‘Thakishi Samvad’. There are only two characters in the play, an old man and a thunk. Someone is a virtual image like Alexa. The time of Corona is social distancing. The old man is alone. He is talking to Takki. They are playing games to relieve loneliness. The game may also be online. Both of them have a virtual role as in many apps on social media. The ‘subject’ they take for communication in the game is like an extension of imagination. But it is not possible to say whether that imagination is real and composed fiction or not. The old man’s past and the role the old man is playing, there is a confusion between how much is fiction and how much is real.   But the references to history and the present are not imaginary to make the dialogue flourish. But there is a rational objectivity in it. Here the dramatist relies on fantasy to find the hidden truth behind the discourse of post-truth. Fantasy is never baseless. The old man in this play creates another fantasy himself. He does research. A fictional reference to an ancient, hyper-ancient culture adds to this research. This fantasy is underpinned by contemporary political and religious reality. A futuristic nightmare is also invisibly hinted at through the dialogue going on in all these contexts.

See how Thakki introduces the old woman (to the audience) as part of the play structure in the play ‘Thaki Samvad’: She says “So look I’ve been with them since 2014. I came and there the Congress went and a new government came. But Dhani Dhimma! Sometimes there is no talking, no policy, no role. Nothing. It is not clear what exactly they are thinking. It is heard that he was an activist during the Emergency of 1975 when he was young. His father was in jail in 42.

He has been in his service since 2014 but what is his exact opinion about what is happening around him? Sometimes on the left side, sometimes on the right side. The exact policy is not to hurt anyone again. If someone speaks well of the government, the rich will shake their heads. Even if someone speaks against the government, the mind will sway. Whatever the subject, his neck sways like a band in a colorful concert. Should a man have an opinion on his own or not?”

From this introduction of this old man at the center of the play as a character, the reader realizes what the overall theme of the play is.

The dramatist has used camouflage to not let the audience understand whether the game that the old man and Thakki are playing is real or virtual. Such camouflage is only part of the dramatist’s assertion. The form of the play and the dramatist’s expected experience of the play is also a part of that disguise. The purpose of the game between the old and the old is to pass the time and be alone. The subject he chose for that is ‘Kargota’. An interesting history of how this kargota came into the old man’s life and became the subject of his research emerges through the dialogue. He has a background in the literary and cultural history of Pune. The importance of Kargotya is told through the dialogue. From Chinese mulberry trees, pre-Vedic, Greek, Egyptian, Indus, tribal, Mohjondaro, Mughal civilizations to Saint tradition, Hitler, Gandhi-Vinoba, Tagore, Nehru, Indira, Rajiv, Sonia, Atalji and the murder of George Floyd in 2020 The graphics are shown in the play.

This kargota is not just a kargota. You can trace the chromosomes of the person wearing it through the skin. Not only this, but a chart of its characteristics will appear on your monitor. To put it simply, recently when the Rs 2000 note was introduced in India, the national level TV channels showed the ‘chip’ in the note as it was.

It is an invisible superpower forcing the chip to show itself. Whose eyes are on your every move. There are new types of scanners to capture your subtle movements. It is by the will of this invisible and collective superpower that ancient history is being rewritten. Science in Puranic phantasies is being proven.

According to me, this is the implication of the concept of 2014. I think we should look at the play ‘Thakishi Samvad’ in this light.


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The NCPA is committed to preserving and promoting India's rich and vibrant artistic heritage in the fields of music, dance, theatre, film, literature and photography, as well as presenting new and innovative work by Indian and international artists from a diverse range of genres including drama, contemporary dance, orchestral concerts, opera, jazz and chamber music.