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Vijayotsav - An Evening of Marathi Culture

Ranjani Saigal and Anoop Kumar

Playwright and political journalist Vijay Tendulkar and actor Vijay Kadam were the guests of honor at “Vijoyatsav” organized by the New England Marati Mandal held on July 19, 2003 in Billerica, MA. Vijay Tendulkar is the author of thirty full-length plays and twenty-three one-act plays, several of which have become classics of modern Indian theater. Among these are Shantata! court chalu ahe (1967), Sakharam binder (1972), Kamala (1981), and Kanyadan (1983). Ghashiram kotwal (1972), a musical combining Marathi folk performance styles and contemporary theatrical techniques, is one of the longest-running plays in the world, with over six thousand performances in India and abroad, in the original and in translation.

Shri Vijay Kadam is a winner of numerous Best Actor and Best Comedy Actor awards, and has acted in more than 20 Marathi plays, as many Hindi and Marathi movies, and numerous Hindi and Marathi TV serials. Vijay Kadam's show, "Sanskriti.com", is a social satire based on the way the trend of the “in thing” has changed over the years.

The event was a variety show conducted by Ashwini Satav. It featured readings by Shri Tendulkar from his works, a comedy act by Shri Kadam and a few items by local talents. This included a lovely dance medley by Netra Rajnikanth and Neela Jangi. Vijay Kadam’s comedy act was very entertaining. An open discussion with Vijay Tendulkar shed light on his approach towards writing and the realities of creating plays.

Describing his motivation to write quality plays Tendulkar said, “As a child I grew up watching some wonderful western plays. It instilled in me a passion to create such plays. I like to watch and learn from people who have excelled in their field.” Asked if he may follow the popular trend to write abstract plays Tendulkar replied, “I have my style and I can get my point across with my style of writing. If someone wants to use abstract plays, it is their choice. I write plays for myself, not for audience.” Why does he use “Dhakka Tantra” (shock mechanism)? ”My objective is to remind people. My goal is not to teach them. It just happens that people get “Dhakka” when they watch my plays,” said Tendulkar.

Describing the role of politics in plays, Tendulkar frankly admitted that more happens behind the curtains than on stage. Should writers follow Arundhati Roy’s example and take a strong view on social issues? “Writers have the gift to express their ideas clearly. It is a big responsibility. They should bring out what they feel, without forgetting their responsibility towards the readers,” said Tendulkar. The event was made possible due to the efforts of Manoj Joshi and Deepak Datye.

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