Play on Ahilyabai shows life journey.
Nagpur: ‘ Punyashlok Ahilyabai Holkar’ was a brave attempt to showcase the life journey of the 18th-century woman warrior crowned the queen and ruler of Malwa kingdom, present-day Indore. The play was held at Scientific Society Hall on day two of Lekhika Natya Sammelan 2016 on Friday.
The play, written by Mala Kekatpure, was directed by theater veteran Sanjay Pendse. The presentation attempts to depict the childhood of a simple girl who rose to be a just and brave ruler, Ahilyabai Holkar.
The starting scenes aptly showcased her humble beginning, simple nature, and big ambitions. “I want to make everyone happy,” says the wide-eyed little protagonist, making us fall for her peculiarities. Knowing prayers by heart, carrying a ‘shilling with her at most times, and her bubbly dialogues with other characters was a treat to watch. Holkar is married into the royal family of Malwa at an early age.
Incandescent lighting, colorful saris in a golden lining, draped in the way typical Maratha women dressed, added a historical touch to the play. The set used a palace’s digital backdrop, showing royal red carpets and pillars, making the set look royal.
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A scene where young Ahilya and her husband Khanderao are seen sword-fighting received applause from the audience when it worked as a transition to show them grown up. Background music chosen for the play evoked interest and intrigue.
A few technical snags resulted in a five-minute break after the first 20 minutes of the play. The director and his crew’s effort won over the audience’s heart in the near-packed hall. The playset an example of depicting a historical play without making the script heavy and boring.