Frankly, I had not heard about this marathi musical until mom excitedly got the tickets for us. It’s called ‘Marathi Baana’ (Marathi Pride) and is playing to full houses all across the state (yesterday night was no exception). The 3 hour song and dance is a demo of the rich cultural heritage of Maharashtra featuring a live orchestra, singers and about 40-50 dancers from both sexes, all dressed up in the native colorful attire, dancing to the live music. The entire team comprises of 125 members. Ashok Hande, whose a veteran of Marathi stage has produced, written, directed and presented the show and also figures in the 4 male singing choir. The musical focuses on the long rich marathi traditions of festivals, folk songs and dances and discusses its plight under the current generation of the marathi population.
Firstly, the show is colourful and thats the only word that comes to my mind. The dancers are ‘fantabulous’ and the singers are mellifluous in their renditions as well. Its proof enough that they have worked pretty hard to get this show running on its feet what with the singers memorizing entire paras of songs and the dancers remembering their steps on every word of it. That said subtle references to the ‘paraprantiya’ (migrant population) during such shows involving the ‘marathi manoos’ (native maharastrian), is always on the cards and is a big turn off personally. This refers to the apparent displacement of the original marathi populace from their native land in mumbai to far-flung places in the northern suburbs and beyond, which is being attributed to the high influx of migrants from outside the state, their illegal settlement & economic progression in this city. One thought that the wonderful cultural platform that the musical ‘Marathi Baana’ offered should in no way be misused to fan the emotions of the patrons who come to enjoy the show. Art has to be set free of all biases against creed or race. But go and watch it for art’s sake and revel in the cultural celebration.