Chhota Gandharva
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1918 – Death : 31st Dec

Damuanna Joshi, the owner of Balmohan Sangit Mandli-a drama group of young boys once discovered Saudagar Gore alias Chhota Gandharva from the town of Koregaon.

Saudagar was gifted with very soft and silken voice. Balmohan produced and presented ‘Pranapratishtha’ on 22nd July 1928 in Vijayanand theater for the first time.

Saudagars’ heavenly voice made Damuanna Joshi to refer to him as ‘Chhota Gandharva’ in the play’s advertisements.

The title was confirmed by the immense fanfare from the audience. ‘Pranapratishtha’ was followed by ‘Swargawar Swari’ and ‘Kardankal’ and ‘Samshay Kallol’.

Chhota Gandharva playing the role of Revati simply became a legend. Damuanna took special efforts to give Chhota Gandharva training in classical singing. He appointed Bagalkotkar buva for the job. Around 1930-31 Chhota Gandharva’s voice cracked for a while; but was restored after a rest of 7-8 months.

The Marathi theater faced severe economic recession around 1932-33. Many drama companies were on the verge of crash. Fortunately, Balmohan found a new, very good playwright in the form of Acharya P.K.Atre.

On 10th May 1933 Balmohan produced Atre’s, ‘Sashtang Namaskar’ in which Chhota Gandharva played the lady part of Tripuri. Later, of course, Chhota Gandharva played male roles only.

Saudagar acted in several of Balmohan’s plays viz., ‘Gharabaher’, ‘Bhramacha Bhopla’, ‘Udyacha Sansar’, ‘Lagnachi Bedi’, ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Mi Ubha Aahe’.

He proved instrumental in Balmohan’s success, fame and wealth. Damuanna appointed him in his drama company to teach high-class classical music.

After 1950-51, Chhota Gandharva played major roles in 5 important and famous plays entitled ‘Soubhadra’, Manapaman’, ‘Mruchhakatik’, ‘Samshay Kallol’ and ‘Vidyaharan’ for a period of about 25 years and literally ruled the hearts of the Marathi theater lovers.

In 1981, on the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Marathi musical theater, Chhota Gandharva played roles in ‘Mruchhakatik’ and ‘Soubhadra’; and then he retired from the stage.


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Cultural Activities

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Cultural Activities
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The same Division, with a view to provide a platform for new artists, started ‘Cultural Programmes’ in 1998. New and inexperienced artists get the auditorium of ‘Bharat’ free-of-charge once a month. Artists perform their fine arts, such as singing, instrumental music, acting etc. The artists have to perform before an audience. The programme is free-of-cost, even for the audience.

Several up-coming artists have performed in such programmes and have experienced the thrill of performing before audience for the first time. This novel concept is thought of and implemented by Suresh Jog. demanded

Swasta Natak Yojana
Economical Play Scheme

People of Maharashtra are theater-maniacs. It is rightly said. theatergoers are sure to outnumber Marathi film-goers. Marathi man loves the theater. It is a fact that rates of theater tickets have always been slightly out of the reach of the common man. Regular theatergoers are also conscious of the rising ticket prices, let alone the common man who visits the theater once in a blue moon. This was one aspect of the problem. Another aspect was to fetch audience to the plays produced by amteur actors of the Institution.

Considering the two sides of the problem, the Institution-Bharat started a scheme after it had constructed an auditorium of its own, in 1970. The scheme was Economical Play Scheme (Swasta Natak Yojana), which planned to show four good plays to the members every year, charging very reasonable amount. Two entry-passes are given for this moderate amount and special concession is offered to the subscribers for all other activities and programmes of the Institution. Hence, the scheme was very audience-friendly. The scheme helped the Institution to produce its own plays, which were watched by a guaranteed audience. As the audience demanded anticipated plays produced by other groups and companies were also included in the scheme. The speciality of the scheme is one musical play that ‘Bharat’ produces every year. After 1970, this idea forwarded by Anant Kanho clicked very well and the Institution presented several first performances of its new productions in this scheme. Many new artists, actors and performers especially perform in this scheme to get a guess of how their new production will do at the box-office. The audience of the scheme is always eager to welcome musical plays and willing to give a pat of appreciation of the back of the young ones. We are fortunate to have many members of the scheme who have been members for years together. As compared to the professional theater, this scheme really brings plays to the audience’s doorstep at a very reasonable price and; hence, has become very popular.

 

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