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Ajab Gajab No Adosh Padosh- Breezy Comedy Play By Gujarati Samaj Of Atlanta

Comedy play by Gujarati Samaj

Photos by Mahadev Desai

Atlanta, GA, October 2012: The Gujarati Samaj of Atlanta created history by staging its first-ever scintillating Gujarati Comedy Play ‘Ajab Gajab no Adosh Padosh’, written and directed by Atlanta’s well known stage and T/V actor Lakshmikant Pandya at the Sardar Patel Bhavan Hall, on Saturday, September 8,2012. What is laudable is that local talent from the members of the Gujarati Samaj Atlanta enacted this sold-out show, which was a fund-raiser for the Gujarati Samaj. A perfect blend of stage decor, music, lighting and performance of all cast members made this an enjoyable, memorable play.

The play begins in the home of Rameshbhai (Ramesh Pandya) and his wife Ketkiben (Bharti Pandya), who live on the ground floor of a high rise building. They are a devout and compassionate middle-class couple. They have a grown-up, eligible-bachelor son Ketan (Ketan Shah). Rameshbhai and Ketkiben have interesting neighbors in slightly deaf Pravinbhai (Pravin Shah), poet Pranshanker (Lakshmikant Pandya) and his wife Sarlaben(Kaushika Shah);an uncaring and disgruntled Jitubhai (Sanjay Pandya); the gossiping and nosey trouble-making trio of Maniben (Hasumati Pandya); Naliniben (Nalini Shah) and Monaben (Monaliza Patel), Ketan’s sweetheart Ami (Ami Shah),Maniben’s niece of marriageable age and  a village- unsophisticate Champa (Sima Bhatt ), and sweet but smart child prodigy Tanvi(Tanvi Dave).

Comedy play by Gujarati Samaj

Tanvi, who has lost her parents, and lives with her grandmother, enters and delivers a note from Jitubhai who is miffed with Rameshbhai for helping pay for his mother-in-law’s medical expenses,. She instantly wins over the audience’s hearts with her sweet Gujarati.  After she leaves, kindhearted Rameshbhai and Ketkiben agree to support her education and other needs. Next on stage is pesky visitor, Pravinbhai who has a habit of imposing on his neighbors for free newspapers and often by irritating remarks because of his poor hearing! Another neighbor Sarlaben comes in complaining about her missing husband Pranshanker. While she is talking, in walks Sanjay Pandya who is told off by Rameshbhai and Ketkiben for being callous and not looking after his mother-in-law. And what is a neighborhood without gossipmongers. Maniben (Champa’s auntie), Naliniben and Monaben add spice to the comedy.  Despite Naliniben’s claim that mane parki panchat karvani tev nathi (I don’t like to gossip about others), this trio don’t miss a chance to do so. Rameshbhai and Ketkiben go to the temple leaving their home in charge of Sarlaben. While Sarlaben is in the kitchen, Champa walks in Rameshbhai’s house. She starts garba practice to impress Ketan when Ketan enters. Champa mistakes him for Ketan’s friend and forces him to do a funny walk. She also does a funny walk to the accompaniment of music and tells Ketan to call her Champabhabhi. Their amusing exchange had the audience in stitches. Ketan tries to convince her that he is Ketan. “OH, you saw a pretty girl so no wonder you are claiming to be Ketan ’she says. (Laughter). She then asks him to sing ’pyar dilon ka mela hai’ when Ketan’s parents enter and set the things straight.

After the interval, Pranshanker returns home after attending a women’s seminar. He regales the audience with rib-tickling short poems in Gujarati (some by noted poet Maniar) and Hindi on love, marriage, pitfalls of married life, etc. Despite advice and warnings against marriage, Ketan marries Ami. Jealous Maniben and Champa decide to ruin the happy family of Ramesh Pandya and Ketkiben. Champa manages to sneak in their kitchen and add chili powder to curries and vegetables. The trio of troublemakers and Champa try to create a rift between Ami and her mother-in-law, Ketkiben. Maniben instigates Jitubhai to place a doll with black magic spell cast on it in the kitchen drawer to scare Rameshbhai & Ketkiben. But smart Tanvi, with her digital camera, quietly takes pictures of their act. Champa even tries to poison a drink to put Ami in trouble. But Pranshanker replaces the poisoned drink in time. Pranshanker then gathers all the neighbors and forces the culprits to confess which indirectly teaches a lesson to Ami also. Rameshbhai and Ketkiben forgive them and the play ends on a happy note and thunderous ovation as they all congratulate Tanvi for winning a prize in her school for her role of Lord Krishna.

Rameshbhai Pandya, Board of Governor and coordinator of this event, invited BOG Chairman Kaushik Desai, Ghanshyam Patel and President Sanjay Patel on stage and then he introduced the cast. Lakshmikant Pandya, residing in Atlanta for the past four years is from Ahmedabad in Gujarat where he was Municipality School Principal as well as a veteran stage and T/V actor. His wife, Bhartiben has also acted in many plays in India. Lakshmikant & Bhartiben have a total of more than 40 years of experience in performing arts. They are also involved in Hindi theater group “Dhoop-Chhaao”. First-timers Ketan Shah, his wife Ami Shah, Hasumati Pandya, and.Nalini Shah also acted well due to almost five months of intensive rehearsals.

This well-scripted fast paced, top-notch breezy comedy is a ‘must-see’ for all. It entertains as well as stresses family values like trust, faith, respect, compassion and cooperation not only among family members but also neighbors. Seasoned stage actor Lakshmikant Pandya commands the stage with his mannerisms, amusing poetry recitation and effortless acting. He is ably supported by the other actors. Tanvi’s heartwarming role endears her to all (She was given two rewards from the audience). This play definitely deserves encores.  

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