HMM’s Durga Zali Gauri Raises Funds

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DZH performers take a bow after receiving a standing ovation from the audience.

 By Rajesh Thatte

HOUSTON: On Saturday, November 8, more than 600 attendees at Cullen Performance Hall Houston experienced spellbinding performance of Marathi Classic, “Durga Zali Gauri” presented by over 60 children and adults of Houston’s Maharashtrian Community. “Durga Zali Gauri “ (DZG for short) is  a story of transformation of ‘Durga’, stubborn and pampered princess  in to ‘Gauri’ hard working helper of community.  The performance was attended by renowned Marathi actors, producers, directors Sachin and Supriya Pilgaonkar.

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Chief guests Sachin and Supriya Pilgaonkar congratulate lead actress Isha Dighe.

DZG was originally produced about 25 years ago by Sulabha and Arvind Deshpande, noted Marathi Artists. It has been playing continuously in theater since then.  Presentation of DZG in Houston was envisioned about a year ago by then HMM President Sharmila Moharir to support the Vastu initiative. Directors Madhura Swadi, Rupa Aranke, Tanuja Sahasrabuddhe and Uma Rajguru accepted the task and created a masterpiece presentation that Maharashtrian community in Houston area will remember forever.  DZG team included group of young children as young as 4 years and they presented their scenes with such fluidity and confidence that audience rose on their feet to applaud.  All elements of the show worked flawlessly. Seamless set changes were accurate on the cue. Taking advantage of theater’s sound and presentation systems, team created a presentation that provided fitting colorful backdrop for every scene. The light effects were adding charm to the show. Original musical score presented the story through melodious songs. The hour and half long presentation was gripping from start to end.  Adapting the musical for presentation to second and third generation of Maharashtrian community presented some challenges. This is where the creative talent of directors and producers stepped in.  English narration was added before the start of every scene so that young children and “Non-Marathi” speaking audience can easily comprehend the context of each scene.

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Lead performers played the role of a king, princess (center) and queen.

Gandhar Kothi did an exceptional job of English narration and kept the show going fluently.  The centerpiece character roles of ‘Durga’ and ‘Gauri’ were played by Isha Dighe. Isha performed the dual personality role with amazing grace and skill. Looking at the performance of children, it will not be out of context to say that there is no shortage of talent in community and picking one from another will be a tough choice. Thanks are in order for every HMM family that devoted their time and efforts for more than six months for preparation of the show.  Chief Guest of Honor, Supriya mentioned that the performance by HMM was so good that she felt as if she is watching the show in India. In his comments Sachin said “TEAM stand for Together Everyone Achieves More. HMM members and Maharashtrian community have come together to accomplish the construction of Vastu. Their efforts received a great boost by performance of this entertaining, thoughtful and positive dance drama.” Considering the fact that most of the artists in the show are second generation Maharashtrians born and raised in U.S., this is a big honor for the artists.  DZG musical was followed by candid interview of Sachin and Supriya by Sameer Karandikar and Achala Bapat. HMM presented plaque to Sachin and Supriya thanking them for their presence and providing encouragement to the team.

DZG was presented as a fundraiser for HMM’s Vastu project to build temple and community center for use of growing Maharashtrian community in Greater Houston area. Donations for the project are welcome. HMM has put in aggressive timeline to bring the project to fruition with proposed land acquisition and construction to begin in 2015.  HMM is 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.

For further information about Vastu project and HMM, visit HMM’s website WWW.HMMHOUSTON.ORG.