Makarand Deshpande's latest play ‘Balatkar Please Stop it!’ provokes dark humour
A Hindi play for the age above 18 years, ‘Balatkar’ highlights the atrocities committed against women through the use of dark humour
Makarand Deshpande is back with a contemporary play titled ‘Balatkar Please Stop it!’ which recently premiered at the Prithvi Theatre, Juhu, Mumbai. A Hindi play for the age above 18 years, ‘Balatkar’ highlights the atrocities committed against women through the use of dark humour. “It is human satire on human beings celebrating 8th March as the International Women's Day to empower women,” reveals Deshpande.
The subject decided by the director is said to have created discomfort among actors. The two act play clocking at two hours dares to evoke laughter at the hypocrisy. The play’s cast includes Nivedita, Ninad, Bharat, Aakansha, Purva, Vikram, Sushil, Abhijeet, Anuj, Aditi, Pallavi, Vinit, Richa, Divya, Sharmila, Nancy, Rekha, Trishala, Preeti, Sahil, Aniket, Gaurav and Makarand himself.
Deshpande is a theatre director, playwright, and actor with a contemplative, philosophical approach to his craft. He has written several influential plays that convey the abstract and surreal nature of existence. Apart from the intellectual strand in his work, his contribution towards the performing arts has been enormous, as he has been part of more than 50 plays. He is also an accomplised film actor, playing prominent roles in films such ‘Jungle,’ ‘Sarfarosh,’ ‘Swades,’ ‘Makdee,’ ‘Satya,’ and ‘Darna Zaroori Hai’.
Deshpande started his theatre group ‘Ansh’ in 1993. He has written, produced and directed more than 50 original plays since then. The group takes pride in not just being a production company but a group of loving and passionate artists believing in creating original and unique work. Their most famous works include ‘Sir Sir Sarla,’ ‘Ek Kadam Aage,’ ‘Krishna,’ ‘Gandhi,’ ‘Ram,’ ‘Buddha,’ and ‘Joke,’ among others. ‘Ansh’ has produced plays that have varied themes and a vast canvas from mythology to magic realism. The subjects of the plays often oscillate between reality and illusion. From the inception of an idea to the writing of the play to its staging, ‘Ansh’ has a distinct original craft of theatre. The group’s legacy hinges upon Deshpande’s reputation as a maverick. At a time when the world is shouting that original writing is dead, Deshpande has kept theatre alive by embracing originality.
‘Balatkar Please Stop it!’ is not the first time Deshpande has written a play with the central character as a female. His earlier play, ‘Kasturi,’ tells the story of a woman’s self-discovery and her discomfort with her own sexuality. The reason behind writing ‘Balatkar’ is not any single incident or case that inspired the play being staged. Rather, it’s driven by a need to address the subject. “Balatkar Please Stop it!’ is my inner need as a man, as a human being to voice it on the most expressive and live medium. Assault on women's basic right of integrity has been for centuries. I as a playwright and a director felt the need to put the centuries old pain on stage, unlike documentaries or movies the pain here will provoke dark humour and then will numb the watcher,” asserts Deshpande.