Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Making of Marathi Play CODE “मंत्र” : by ~ Niilesh A Raje

There has always been lots of curiosity amongst the common masses when it relates to the story of our Indian Army who are far across from their home and loved one’s protecting each one of us. The rigorous training they undergo to make it up being part of the army and the practice of discipline one needs to adhere to as part of their professional work environment is indeed notable. So when viewers get the opportunity to witness drama that unfolds the plot about the life in the Indian Army then Marathi play CODE “मंत्र” is no exception. The play CODE “मंत्र” is set up against the background of the Indian Army.

Even before I could ask any question to actress Mukta Barve about the making of the Marathi play CODE मंत्र” wherein she is seen playing the lead role alongside actor Ajay Purkar what captivated my attention being the title itself and the way it has been designed. I was intrigued which excited me to ask Mukta my first question, "Why the title of the play CODE “मंत्र” is written in two different languages where CODE is written in English and ”मंत्र” in Marathi? What was the thought process when the design was made that makes use of two different languages? It's very rare that one finds the title of the play or movie that makes use of two different languages. Perhaps the crew of CODE “मंत्र” may have the answer but I don't.  

The journey goes back to the first week of January year 2016 when producer Dinesh Pednekar was invited to watch the Gujarati version of the play CODE “मंत्र”. He was so impressed watching the play that he could not resist himself but call Mukta Barve during the interval. He suggested her to watch this Gujarati version of the play CODE “मंत्र” as he had already made up his mind to come up with the same play in Marathi. Now whether Mukta might agree or decline to work in the Marathi version of this play was totally subjective.

Without wasting time and with no knowledge of Gujarati language Mukta went ahead and watched the Gujarati version of this play not once but thrice till she got straight into the heart of the story. Having got convinced she then conveyed her decision to Mr. Dinesh Pednekar that she is ready to play the lead role in the Marathi version of the play CODE “मंत्र”.

Mukta has played the role as Military Law Expert Ahilya Deshmukh. Now came the challenge to find someone who would play the lead role (male) opposite to Mukta and the search started. Research revealed that it was Mukta’s Mother who recommended the name of actor Ajay Purkar to play the role of Colonel Prataprao Nimbalkar.

Initial days the rehearsals were on from 10 am to 5 pm but with the passage of time they spread over to twelve hours shift from 10 am to 10 pm such was the level of commitment from each one of them who were part of this vibrant Marathi play CODE मंत्रThe whole crew comprised of forty artists who were ready in a span of forty days to perform live on the center stage each one giving their own power-packed performance. And, once the courtroom drama unfolds it’s interesting to see the Military Law Expert Mukta (Ahilya Deshmukh) and her voice resonate inside the courtroom who is seen to ask blunt and pointed questions be it the petitioner or respondent appearing inside the witness box.

To achieve the milestone of completion of fifty successful shows in short span of seventy days is indeed creditable. As of 8 March, 2017 Marathi version of CODE “मंत्र” has already completed 150 shows and is still counting. CODE “मंत्र” has also been the recipient of many awards which includes Maharashtra Times Award for the Best Marathi Play and Zee Gaurav for the most captivating Marathi play for this year. To sum it up not to forget actor and writer Sneha Desai got the inspiration to pen down the Gujarati play CODE मंत्र” from the original play first produced on Broadway namely "A Few Good Men" play by Aaron Sorkin. To know more about the day in the life of Indian Army then watching Marathi version of the CODE “मंत्र” is an absolute must making your watching experience more enthralling.  

Director:  Rajesh Joshi 

Cast :  Mukta Barve, Ajay Purkar, Umesh Jagtap, Atul Mahajan, Kaustubh Diwan, Faiz Khan, Sanjay Khapre, Milind Adhikari, Vikram Gaikwad, Amit Jambekar, Swati Bovlekar, Sanjay Mahadik and Ajay Kasurde

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