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The Family Triangle

Wednesday, February 07, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

A new Marathi film,'Aapla Manus', directed by Satish Rajwade and starring Nana Patekar opens this week. It is based on a very popular play called 'Katkon Trikon' by Vivek Bele.

The original Marathi production, directed by Girish Joshi, starred Mohan Agashe. Later, Paresh Rawal did a Gujarati and Hindi version titled 'Dear Father', directed by Dinkar Jani. The play has run successfully for years, and is currently in the midst of a new run.

The play uses a fine blend of comedy, family drama and suspense to talk about problem of caring for the elderly in an urban nuclear family. It is set in the upper middle class apartment of the Mankads comprising father Manu Mankad, (Rawal), his son Ajay (Chetan Dhanani) and daughter-in-law Alka (Mrinmayee). Ajay is a lawyer, and Alka a teacher — both lead busy lives and do not realise that the aged father is being neglected. They look after him but do not really care, conveying to him that he is a burden on them. The son tries to diffuse the tension between his father and his wife, caused by her being a careerwoman and not a housewife (which is a bit unfair to the woman).  

Then, one day, the father topples over from the apartment’s balcony, and the cop investigating the case (also Rawal) accuses the couple of murder. During the intense interrogation that follows, the extent of Manu's loneliness and the couple’s apathy is revealed.

The same play performed by two great actors in two languages, gives an opportunity to see how each brings his own personality and skill sets to the role.  Agashe played the father with the wounded dignity of a middle-class Maharashtrian, and the cop with a sense of menace; while Rawal plays the father with rustic accent, comic appearance and more than a dash of humour even in his unhappy condition, and the cop as one hiding a toughness under his bantering persona.  It would be interesting to see how Nana Pateker plays this difficult role, and colours it with his own distinct personality.

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