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Paresh Rawal rocks in Hindi Play ‘Dear Father’

Paresh Rawal in Dear Father
BY MAHADEV DESAI

Atlanta, GA: Atlanta’s theater-loving community thronged to the Sidney Marcus Auditorium, in Georgia World Congress Center  on Friday, April 26,2013, to enjoy an emotionally charged  family drama about the all too familiar generation gap laced with a sprinkling of rip roaring, breezy quips by  the acclaimed thespian Paresh Rawal,  The glitzy show was organized and spearheaded  by Atlanta’s well-known culture and performing arts promoter Kamru Hamrani  of  Y K Entertainment, supported  by J.D.H Developers and Café Bombay.

In the play, Paresh Rawal plays a double role. The thought-provoking  play with irrepressible wit and humor begins with Paresh Rawal (in his role as Inspector  Sharma) coming to investigate and interrogate widower Manubhai Mankad’s (Paresh Rawal in his second role) son Ajay Mankad (Chetan Dhanani)  and daughter-in-law  Alka (Mrinmayee Godbole)  about an accident in their home. When Sharma asks lawyer Ajay about the normal atmosphere in their home, he replies, ’kabhi khushi kabhi gham) sometimes happy, sometimes sad).The flashback scene shows a worried and anxious, aged Manubhai phoning his friends and relatives when Alka, a Maths teacher, is late in returning home. They all advise Manubhai to try and call her on mobile phone. When Alka and Ajay are back home, they are irritated by a flurry of calls to find out whether Alka has returned. Ajay and Alka are also peeved with Manubhai who has a habit of browsing obituary columns in the newspaper and calling some randomly- picked numbers to express his condolences, sympathy and even amusing lines. “I am so sorry your dad passed away at such an early age”. “What, he was 92! I can’t believe it. He looks so healthy in this picture. What? This picture was taken 25 years ago? You ought to be ashamed. With all these digital gadgets around, couldn’t you have taken his recent pics.just before his death?” Ajay is tired of frequent squabbles between lonely, grumpy Manubhai and his liberated, educated and working daughter-in-law Alka.  The latter draws up a list of 42 complaints by Manubhai (one more added later). All three sit together to deal with these complaints. Ajay tries to remain neutral and quiet. Manubhai taunts him, “Do we need a password to make you open your mouth?  You better keep Narendra Modi’s picture in your pocket to give you courage to speak out!”  The three have heated discussion and arguments. Alka accuses Manubhai of being conservative and old-fashioned, of keeping her late mother-in-law cooped up within four walls. “You controlled her and now you are trying to control me.” She says. Manubhai accuses her of not being able to cook well or do other household chores. As both have full-time jobs, family has to hire a cook, cleaning lady, etc. He blames them for being enticed by consumerism and living beyond their means. “If you carry on like this, you’ll have to pay for even diapers by installments!” He laments that the new generation is overspending instead of saving. Alka counters that she believes in enjoying life and living for the moment. Alka tries to manipulate Ajay by telling him that his dad is trying to drive a wedge between him (Ajay) and her because he is feeling insecure. Ajay sides with Alka after he has a long chat with his dad. Manubhai remains quiet but plans to teach both Ajay and Alka a lesson. And he does it brilliantly in his role of Inspector Sharma in the second Act ,following a brief interval. He keeps the audience on the edge of their seats as he piles on evidence to at first accuse Ajay and Alka of abetting Manubhai in committing suicide and later,alternatively  accusing first Alka and then Ajay of trying to murder him. The viewers will have to watch the play to find out how it all ends.

Alka’s friend Sangeeta (? ?) in a cameo role, drops in at Manubhai’s home to give an Invitation Card to her wedding. Manubhai regales the audience with his initial show of hospitality.  Then he engages in an interesting exchange with her about taking care of older family members, even when they are living apart.

The audience was enjoying every minute of this gripping investigation interspersed with amusing one-liners and quips. In the concluding part, Inspector Sharma in a heart-tugging scene advises Ajay to treat his dad with love and respect, to hold his hand, to hug him, to sit and talk with him,etc.”Home should be more than a glorified Old People’s Home. More than  living together, supporting each other is more important. Home is not measured in square feet but in love among the family members.”

Paresh Rawal, the seasoned actor, effortlessly straddles celluloid and stage. In ‘Dear Father’ he commands the stage in a stellar role invoking laughter with every wisecrack, quirky accent and mannerisms. The affable and genial Rawal has enthralled the audience for over 25 years.  He has acted in many hit movies-Hera Pheri, Phir Hera Pheri,Golmaal,Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge,OMG-Oh My God,to name a few. Convincing and confident roles by the accompanying younger but accomplished Mrinmayee Godbole, Chetan Dhanani and ? ?

The national promoter of this gem of a play is Bhavna Modi,based in Chicago. This was the 20th Show in U.S.The play is produced by Swaroop Sampat, written by Dr.Vivek Bele and directed by Dinkar Jani.

Being a Performing Arts aficionado, Kamrubhai is well-known for staging top-notch plays, performances of famed professional singers, comedians, or dance artists in Atlanta, around U.S.and Canada for the past several years.

Kamru Hamrani conveyed his heartfelt thanks to the patrons, media, sponsors, volunteers, and national sponsor Bhavna Modi.

Kudos to this ‘Must see’  and memorable,sparkling play .

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