Alkazi Theatre Archives

Play: Char Chaughi, 1991
Written by: Prashant Dalvi
Directed by: Chandrakant Kulkarni

‘Char Chaughi’, a Marathi play, written by Prashant Dalvi, was first directed by Chandrakant Kulkarni and produced by Shree Chintamani in August 1991. The play had over 400 shows and was discussed in public forums (Shanta Gokhale, Playwright at the Centre: Marathi Drama from 1843 to the Present 2000, 437). ‘Char Chaughi’ is the story of a mother (who bears the stigma of beinga second wife) and her three daughters. In the absence of the father, the mother fights for hermown choices and raises her three daughters single-handedly. The three daughters live their lives independently. Vidya, the elder sister returns to her mother when she discovers that her husband has been unfaithful to her. Vaiju, the second sister, is married to Srikant who is good for nothing and moves from one job to another. Vini, the youngest of the three and a college student, finds herself in love with two boys.

Providing deep insight into contemporary women’s views and decisions, the play created history in Marathi theatre and Kulkarni was awarded best director for the play by Natyadarpan and Natya Parishad in 1992. Char Chaughi not only focuses on the man-woman and the mother-daughter relationship, but it also reflects contemporary issues and discourses of family and society in the 90s. The economic reforms of the 1990s and the implementation of the LPG (Liberalisation, Privatisation, and Globalisation) program created a desire for a new urbanized India wedged between tradition and modernity which produced a new understanding of career, family, and education, and also of what progress, independence, and freedom could be defined as. In an interview with Neeta Kolhatkar, Kulkarni said that “Char Chaughi was on Stree Mukti Sanghatana, revolving around feminism, financial independence of women, problems they faced in various institutions including families” (Mumbai Theatre Guide).

Play- Char Chaughi, 1991

Source : Newspaper clipping, Deepa Gahlot, ‘One Step at a Time to Success’, Times of India, May 10, 1992. Image Courtesy – ProQuest Historical Newspaper

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