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Bitter Sweet

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

Can diabetes be the subject of a comedy play? If Prashant Damle stars in it, then the answer would be yes. Sakhar Khallela Manus (Man Who Ate Sugar) is a current hit on the Marathi stage, and is about a man who is diagnosed with the disease.

Written by Vidyasagar Adhyapak and directed by Chandrakant Kulkarni, the play is set in the middle class household of Vilas (Damle), his wife Madhavi (Shubhangi Gokhale), and their daughter Rucha (Rucha Apte). An insurance professional, Vilas quits his secure job to take up a better paying one in a private company. The pressure of monthly targets, and entertaining clients, leads to increased smoking and drinking, as a result of which he is diagnosed with diabetes, caused by high blood sugar.

Initially, several comic sequences are achieved with the diet and lifestyle changes and cures his wife insists on, that drive him up the wall. However, this track can go only this far, so another Father Of The Bride kind of subplot is added on, involving Rucha and her boyfriend Dr. Omkar (Sankarshan Karhade). Vilas gets increasingly cranky with Madhavi’s constant overreaction and Rucha’s defiance adding to his stress.

The dialogues are really funny, however, and Damle effortlessly brings the house down with his antics; Gokhale is a fine comic foil for him, even though she comes off as a little too scatterbrained. The romantic track is tacked on, and Rucha ‘revelation’ that tests her father’s patience to its limit, is not quite convincing, and is not properly followed through, but it is a minor irritant in an otherwise enjoyable play. Damle just never lets his energy flag and in the end he gives the audience a bonus in the form of a song, sending them off with a smile on their faces.

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