Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends

In my opinion, friends are like diamonds, because just like diamonds, friends are forever too. Take for instance friends of Ashok Sathe, the well known Marathi stage, TV and film artist. Sathe turned sixty on March 10, 2002 and his friends (most of who started their career with him) celebrated the occasion in an unusual style.

Sathe’s friends wanted to use the occasion for a meaningful activity. So they organized a public programme at Sahyog Mandir wherein they held a discussion forum on the topic "Spardhechya Disha aani Dasha". S.N. Navare (another well-known Marathi celebrity) presided as Chief Guest. The other panelists were Kamlakar Sontake, Vishwas Mehandale, Bappu Limaye, Ramesh Choudhary, all of who represent the Marathi Entertainment Industry at various levels.

It was a particularly interesting discussion as it revealed the darker shades of state-level theatre competition. There was universal agreement on the suggestion that competitions cause most artists, directors and producers to become extremely result-oriented with just one objective in mind when conceiving a play or performing a role – that of impressing the judges. Critical factors such as a good script, proper lighting effects etc. are ignored in the quest for awards. As a result of these developments, the scope for experimentation with uncommon ideas and concepts is greatly narrowed down.

The panel of senior artists appealed to the Maharashtra Government to address the situation and pledged support to the steps initiated in this direction.

Thanks to Sathe’s friends, the audience, comprising of some two hundred theatre enthusiasts, enjoyed what was perhaps one of the most unusual birthday celebrations.

Cultural Designs
Thane’s Milind Kulkarni has introduced an exclusive range of tee-shirts, which are available not at garment outlets, but at bookstores. A graphic designer by profession, Kulkarni feels that the uniqueness of his tee-shirts would be lost if they were displayed along with other garments – which is why he wants to avoid selling them through the regular channel.

And what makes Kulkarni’s tee-shirts unique? It is his vision of spreading the richness of Marathi culture and literature through his tee-shirts, which are sold under the brand name of Paridhaan. Each tee-shirt is painted with unique words from the world of Marathi culture – famous film dialogues, nursery rhymes, names of popular plays etc.

For instance, one design carries the words "ye re ye re pavasa", the favourite Marathi nursery rhyme while another one displays the words "preeye paha", from the popular Marathi play "Sanget Saubhadra". According to Kulkarni, "a true lover of Marathi literature and culture will take pride in sporting one of his tee-shirts."

Kulkarni’s efforts have already begun showing encouraging results. His concept of Marathi designer tee-shirts has been appreciated by prominent Marathi personalities such as Vasundhara Pendse Naik (President of Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Parishad) and renowned Marathi writer Ratnakar Matkari.

Kulkarni’s target is not restricted to only Marathi-speaking public. In fact his ultimate objective is to sell his tee-shirts to foreigners. According to him, the art of fashion carries a universal appeal and this means that all fashion-conscious individuals are his prospects. To substantiate this, he gives an example, "Many Indians wear tee-shirts that sport messages in various foreign languages like German, French and even Japanese. They may not comprehend the message, but they pick up the tee-shirt for its aesthetic value."

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