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‘Natasamrat’ still enthrals after 150 shows

Tuesday, January 04, 2011
By Sandeep Hattangadi

‘Natasamrat’ is a classic play that has been staged many times right from its first performance some 45 years ago. The latest version starring Upendra Date in the central character of a stage thespian Appasaheb Belwalkar, who is ignored by his family and leaves his home, has been appreciated by contemporary audiences and was recently feted for completing 150 performances. We spoke to Date about his achievement.

Did you expect the play’s success?
Yes. ‘Natasamrat’ is a timeless play written by the literary great V.Va. Shirwadkar and whenever it has been staged it has been a success.
The audience has appreciated this and we have completed 150 successful performances.

How did you think of staging this play?

I was in the drama troupe that staged ‘Natasamrat’ in the seventies in which veteran actor Satish Dubhashi played the lead character of Appasaheb and it always was in my mindset to perform this play.

Which actor has played Appasaheb better?
I think many actors like Dubhashi, Laxman Deshpande and Bal Kolhatkar have performed ‘Natasamrat’ but it’s always Dr. Shreeram Lagoo who made the character and the play memorable.

What do you feel is the reason for the success of the play?
The play is family-oriented and has lot of emotions and has wonderful soliloquies and dialogues.

How long do you plan to stage the play?
The play has lots of repeat value viewers. Youth who have not seen the play on Doordarshan or VCD’s are watching the play and we propose to have a long extended run.

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