The right cast sometimes lifts a production several notches; when performers like Vandana Gupte and Pratiksha Lonkar are on stage, they add spark to the most mundane scenes.
Haravlelya Pattyancha Banglaa, written by Swara Mokashi and directed by Chandrakant Kulkarni, has won an award or two, and has proved to be very popular with Marathi audiences, though the mother-daughter domestic drama could not have been too challenging for the very talented director. (https://www.deepagahlot.com/chandrakan-kulkarni-theatre-interview/)
Indira (Gupte) has a paying guest, Nidhi (Dipti Lele), in her apartment to keep her company, and despite the huge age gap, they get along well. Indira’s son lives abroad with his family, while her daughter Ira (Lonkar) resides in a distant suburb, with her husband (Rajan Joshi) and son (Atharva Nakti).
Ira keeps visiting, however, and thinks nothing of making demands on her mother, who happily obliges by making dishes her daughter likes. Indira is pleased to hear that her grandson Ishan will move in with her, because he has got admission at a college nearby. Ira does not like the idea of Ishan sharing space with Nidhi, and contrives to evict the girl, which inconveniences her in the middle of the college year. Also, Nidhi does not get along with her father, who comes to pick her up at Ira’s call, and resents this interference with her living arrangements.
After a while, Ira moves into her mother’s apartment herself, citing a job transfer and starts taking charge in a way that is so inconsiderate that it borders on the callous. Her husband tries to reason with her, but Ira thinks it is her right to treat her mother the way she sees fit. Ira’s insecurities have made her so selfish and conniving, that she does not see anything wrong with her behavior. Indira gets more unconditional affection from a stranger like Nidhi, than from her own daughter.
The play works in little moments, rather than as a whole—the novelty here being that the one plotting against the older woman is not her daughter-in-law, as it happens in most family dramas. The writing is peppered with enough humour and emotional highs to make the play watchable—there is also the considerable attraction of Vandana Gupte’s return to the stage after a long time.