It's 11:00 am on 1st May and there's a huge crowd outside Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha, Matunga as people wait for their turn to get seated in the theater. If you are a regular in the Marathi theater scene in Mumbai, you'll know that this is a rare phenomenon and not many really bother to watch a play at 11:00 am on a holiday. That's how excited people are to watch Amar Photo Studio.
Produced by Sunil Barve and directed by the very talented (and young) Nipun Dharmadhikari, the play boasts a promising star cast, brimming with enthusiasm and talent. The premise of the play is that a 27-year-old Apurva or Apu (Suvrat Joshi) is set to leave for the US for higher studies. His girlfriend Tanu (Sakhi Gokhale) is a practical person who insists that long distance relationships don't work and it's best they break up. Apu has a demon of his own to deal with. His father, all of 27, had walked out on him and his mother. So did his grandfather. Tanu can relate as her father and mother are divorced. They both struggle with this and are looking for closure. Apu and Tanu walk into Amar Photo Studio to get some photographs for Apu's Visa. This is when the play switches gears and everything goes topsy-turvy. Towards the end, they both find the closure they seek.
Amar Photo Studio is fresh in terms of the plot, the dialogues, and the narrative. The whole stage is filled with energy, the dialogues make contemporary references (as opposed to many other Marathi plays), which is refreshing and a welcome change. This makes it a great watch for youngsters. Considering not many Marathi youngsters actively watch plays anymore, Amar Photo Studio might change this. The story is a little complicated and seems a bit stretched in places. However, it's a minor flaw compared to how much Amar Photo Studio entertains you. Whether it is because of Dil Dosti Duniyadari or otherwise, the entire cast is in sync and complement each other.
Sakhi Gokhale is flawless from the word go. She looks great and is a super actress. Suvrat Joshi, Pooja Thombre and Siddhesh Purkar are perfect in their roles. Sakhi and Suvrat make a very adorable pair, even when they are bickering (like couples do in real life). However, you just cannot get enough of Amey Wagh! His web series with the director Nipun Dharmadhikari, Casting Couch, is getting a lot of attention and appreciation, and their “awesomesauce” chemistry shows on stage. Amey Wagh has perfect comic timing and kills it in (spoiler alert) every role he plays on the stage. In all, if you are looking to watch a “darjedaar naatak”, this is a safe bet.
If you haven't yet watched it already, please book your tickets for Amar Photo Studio before the theaters are full again.