G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Greatest Hit of Marathi Stage Turned 125 and Rise of Indian Metrosexuality

George Orwell:”The only true test of artistic merit is survival.”

“Musical Saubhadra”, Lord Krishna blessed love story of Subhadra and Arjun, by Annasaheb Kirloskar (संगीत सौभद्र, अण्णासाहेब किर्लोस्कर), the biggest hit of 19th and 20th century Maharashtra, completed 125 years of its staging on November 18, 2007.

D G Godse द ग गोडसे and M V Dhond म वा धोंड have written memorable essays on the subject of Marathi stage.

Godse in his essay “centenarian Saubhadra” (शातायुषी सौभद्र, included in his book नांगी असलेले फुलपाखरू, 1989), written to celebrate centenary of the play said:

“...The play is essentially a farce but its structure and development are not foreign but native and in the nature of folk play…

The inspiration could also have come from recently published English historical romantic novels…

Saubhadra, tender and entertaining, never becomes serious but never crosses the limits of good taste...

The play featured for the first time bedroom scene on Marathi stage, done boldly, confidently but tastefully, with restraint…”

Main characters of the play are Krishna, Balaram, Arjun, Subhadra, Rukmini, Narada, Satyaki and among them they sing about 100 songs!

Dhond says:"...Shankararaav Mujumadaar शंकरराव मुजुमदार who played Rukmini couldn't sing. Therefore, Rukmini who moves among the people who sing at the drop of a hat was given no song by Kirloskar!"

Subhadra in later years was played by Marathi stage legends like Balgandharva बालगंधर्व and Keshavrao Bhosale केशवराव भोंसले.

Imitating Balgandharva, college-going young men from all over Maharashtra used to dress like women, get photographed and carry the picture around proudly.
Is this the birth of modern Indian metrosexual man?

If Saubhadra is the greatest comedy of Marathi stage, “One More Glass” by R G Gadkari (1885-1919)[एकच प्याला, राम गणेश गडकरी] is perhaps its greatest tragedy. It soon will complete its own century.

Dhond is his book “Moon of the Fourth Day” (चंद्र चवथिचा, 1987) claims that prodigally talented Gadkari almost invented The Theatre of the Absurd which was later done by Samuel Beckett and Eugène Ionesco.

Are women in the picture below watching Saubhadra?


Artist: Peter Arno April 10, 1926