- Ghashiram Kotwal
"Ghashiram Kotwal" is a
Marathiplay written by playwright Vijay Tendulkarin 1972 [ [http://www.iaac.us/Tendulkarfestival/Tendulkarbio.htm Tendulkar biography] ] , as his response to the rise of a local political party, Shiv Sena, in Maharashta [ [http://www.indianexpress.com/res/web/pIe/ie/daily/19991020/ile20071.html The Indian Express, October 20, 1999] ] .
The play is a political satire, written as historical drama. Based on the life of
Nana Phadnavis(1741-1800), one of the prominent minister in the court of the Peswa of Pune. Its theme is how men in power give rise to ideologies to serve their purposes, and later destroy them when they become useless.
It was first performed on 16 December 1972, by the Progressive Drama Association in
Pune. Jabbar Patel's production of the play in 1973 is considered a classic in Modern Indian Theatre [ [http://www.4to40.com/art/print.asp?id=54 Performance Tradition and Modern Theatre] ] .
The play begins with an invocation to lord
Ganesha. Then the Brahminsof Puneintroduce themselves and we can see the morally corrupt state of affairs in Pune. Nana Phadnaviswho is the Diwan(Chief Secretary) of Puneis also corrupt and visits the lavanidancer. Ghashiram is working with the lavani dancer. Ghashiram being a Brahmin goes to collect alms at the Peshwa's festival the next day. However he is ill-treated there and is charged with pick-pocketing and thrown to jail. He then decides to take revenge.
Ghashiram barters his own daughter to get the post of Kotwal (police chief) of Pune from Nana. Having got the post he begins to enforce strict rules in the city. He starts asking for permits for everything and starts throwing people in jail for the smallest offences.
In the mean time, Ghashiram's daughter is killed by Nana. The situation goes out of hand when a few people in the jail die out of suffocation. The Brahmins then complain to the Peshwa. The Peshwa summons Nana who gives order to kill Ghashiram in the most derogatory way possible. Thus it leads to Ghashi's Death.
The play stands out also for the use "Tamasha" Genre in the play so you have a lot of singing and dancing used here to good effect, here the "abhangas" (devotional songs) mixed in with the "Lavnis" (Love songs).
Original Cast and Crew
* Ghashiram Savaldas :
* Nana Phadnavis :
* Sutradhar(Narrator) :
This play caused a lot of controversy because some people believed that it hurt the feelings of the
chitpavan Brahmincommunity and that it showed the statesman Nana Phadnavisin a bad light. Hence it was temporarily banned in the state [cite web |url=http://www.flonnet.com/fl2224/stories/20051202001008500.htm |title= `My writing has always been honest', Interview with Vijay Tendulkar. |publisher=The Frontline] .
The play was adapted into a film, 'Ghashiram Kotwal' (1976), which was the debut film of actor
Om Puri. Film's screenplay was written by Vijay Tendulkar, himself.
* Ghashiram Kotwal, Vijay Tendulkar, "Sangam Books, 1984". ISBN 817046210X.
* Collected Plays in Translation: Kamala, Silence! the Court Is in Session, Sakharam Binder, the Vultures, Encounter in Umbugland, Ghashiram Kotwal, a Friend's Story, Kanyadaan. "New Delhi, 2003, Oxford University Press." ISBN 0195662091.
* Vijay Tendulkar's Ghashiram Kotwal: a Reader's Companion. "M. Sarat Babu, Asia Book Club, 2003". ISBN 8178510081
* Vijay Tendulkar's Ghashiram Kotwal : Critical Perspectives. "Vinod Bala Sharma and M. Sarat Babu. 2005, Prestige Books, New Delhi". ISBN 8178510022
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