Tragedy, Tears in Om Katare’s Kaalchakra

Kaalchakra by Om Katare

Om Katare’s group Yatri is in the midst of a theatre festival celebrating the group’s fortieth anniversary, which is no mean achievement.

Among the roster of comedies and social dramas like Hadh Kar Di Aapne, Chinta Chhod Chintamani and Ravanleela that mark the group’s crowd-pleasing repertoire is the serious Kaalchakra which is, amazingly, Yatri’s most-watched and longest running play. There are people who have seen it multiple times and keep coming back, bringing their friends to see it. The audience is often reduced to tears during the play as they relate to the tragedy of an elderly couple.

Kaalchakra, originally written in Marathi by Jaywant Dalvi, has the heart-rending subject that was relevant when he wrote it in the 1970s, and is even more significant now, since it deals with the problems of the aged.

Mr and Mrs Inamdar (Om Katare-Paromita Chatterjee) spent their middle-class lives and all their funds to raise their children. But when they get old, their two sons and daughters-in-law are reluctant to look after them. This is the case in so many homes, when the aged parents are seen as a burden by their children and sent off to homes for senior citizens.

Inamdar is not one to take this attitude lying down, and puts an advertisement in the papers for adoption, if any family will have them. His reasoning is that if those who are desirous of children and cannot have them, resort to adoption, so there must be people in the world, who want parents but don’t have them, why can’t they adopt parents? Much to his surprise, and the embarrassment of his sons, a young couple comes forward to take them home; they were both orphans and never had parents. They give the old couple the love and care they did not get from their own children. The sons are ashamed not because of what they did but for fear of what people will say.

Another of Dalvi’s plays, Sandhya Chhaya, was also about the agony of old parents abandoned by their children, but they were the kind to suffer in silence. The unavoidable melodrama of the situation is tinged with the anger and bitterness of the father in Kaalchakra, who is willing to do something to remedy the situation, rather than weep and moan about their fate. The younger actors have changed over the years but Katare and Chatterjee have remained constant and hold the show together with their performance and perfect chemistry.

 

Kaalchakra

Directed by Om Katare

Cast: Om Katare, Paromita Chatterjee and others

Rating: 3.5 stars

By Deepa Gahlot

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