HMM Presents “Durga Zali Gauri” a Musical Journey of a Princess

HMM in

By Rajesh Thatte

HOUSTON: Their feet are ready to step, hands ready for katthak mudras, faces full of expressions ready for the stage light. This is a dedicated group of Houston’s youngest Maharashtrian community members, as young as 5 years and up to high school. More than 60 children are practicing hard for the past several months to present to you once in a life time mesmerizing presentation of “Durga Zali Gauri”, a theatrical presentation which depicts  transformation of a young princess from being angry and ill-mannered to happy and humble.  Durga Zali Gauri is to the Marathi theatre what The Nutcracker is to the English theater. Houston Maharashtra Mandal (HMM) will present this performance on November 8 2014 at Cullen Performance Hall, University of Houston.

The original musical was produced about 25 years ago by Sulabha and Arvind Deshpande, noted Marathi Artists. It has been widely adapted by various performing groups in India. It is a story of Princess Durga and her journey. Durga, the pampered princess cannot sleep and no one knows why. Her parents, the King and Queen are willing to do whatever it takes to please their lovely daughter but her insomnia is causing common citizens of the kingdom to suffer.  The common folks are often forced to build something to find a cure for Durga’s sleeplessness. Days pass by but nothing works and the subjects of the kingdom suffer. Finally in a feat of anger the princess leaves the palace and an eventual accident causes a memory loss. She travels through kingdom as a common person, develops empathy and compassion towards her citizens and helps them. Please come and watch the musical to learn how Durga turns into Gauri  a loving, caring person. Although the dance drama is in Marathi, it will be accompanied by narration in English which should make it easy to understand for everyone.

Houston’s Maharashtrian community is presenting this musical as a fundraiser for building of the temple and community center.  We are delighted to have renowned Hindi and Marathi Movie actors, directors and producers, Sachin and Supriya Pilgaokar, as Guests of Honor for this performance. Sachin started as a child actor in Marathi film, Ha Majha Marg Ekla (1962). He went on to act in about 65 films as a child artist. As an adult actor he gave hits such as Geet Gata Chal (1975), Balika Badhu (1976), Ankhiyon Ke Jarokhon se (1978) and Nadiya ke paar(1982). He has acted, produced and directed successful comedy shows on Indian television, including Tu Tu Main Main (2000) and Kadvi Khatti Meethi.  Sachin has also acted in several hit Marathi films including the recent movies Ekulti Ek (2013) and Sanggto Aika (2014). Supriya is a well-known Hindi and Marathi television and movie personality. Sachin and Supriya appeared together on the dance show Nach Baliye and walked away as the winners of season 1.

Children and volunteers are working hard devoting their time to bring this grand production to the best of their abilities.  Artists, mainly children, are excited that their talent will be presented in front of the noted artists Sachin and Supriya.

Greater Houston area is seeing unprecedented economical growth and that is attracting huge diaspora of Indian community to Greater Houston area. The Maharashtrian community has grown from a few families to several hundreds. Many of the families are now in third generation and working hard to keep their Maharashtrian heritage as part of their American lives. This is easily seen by sold out HMM events.  The large number of members need a common place to get together, interact and celebrate various festivals. The members also need a venue we can call our own for celebrating our events such as milestone birthdays, religious events, and anniversaries. Sensing this growth and need, HMM proposes to build a temple and a community center that will serve the community over the future years.

Passes for the “Durga Zali Gauri” play can be obtained by donating to HMM. Donation levels are set at  $100, $1,000, $5,000, $ 10,000 and $ 15,000+. Each donor is provided four passes for the main event. Every donation is tax deductible if you itemize. HMM is 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.

For obtaining passes for the show or donating visit WWW.HMMHOUSTON.ORG or contact Shirish Kulkarni at