‘My parents’ experience made me write ‘Samantar’ – Prashant Tupe

Prashant tupe


Prashant Tupe with Rohini Hathangadi

By Neena Badhwar

Prashant Tupe, a businessman-cum- writer-cum-actor from Perth, is staging currently the play ”˜Samantar’ based on his own experience with aged seniors migrating and living in Australia with their children. Says Prashant, who got his parents to come and live with the family and help raise his little kids, “I could see it was hard for them to adjust. They had been living full social lives with their network of friends and relatives that they left behind. Here, at times, they were bored and were in total isolation from the rest of the world.”

“I could see their dilemma. While we thought that our life will become easy, that the wife can work and kids can be baby sat yet the parents’ own life had taken a back seat.”

“I observed all those things. How they tend to get overlooked and before one realises exploitation can start to happen. In my case they went back but the whole experience of them coming here to help us out left many thoughts in me.”

Not just resting with thoughts, Prashant went ahead and ended up writing a play ”˜Samantar’ ”“ meaning ”˜Parallel’, he says, “You have to come and see the play unfold itself towards the end when its meaning gets portrayed in its essence. I promise that the audience will go back with many questions and thoughts on the topic.”

And how did he pull in Rohini Hathangadi to agree to the role, says he, “Well I went and met her in Mumbai and when she read the script, she was quiet for some time and simply just said ”˜yes’.”

“Rohini is out and out a theatre actor and my play in a way challenged her. When I was busy writing drafts after drafts of the play, I had only Rohini in my mind. In Mumbai when I met her she was acting in a Marathi play called ”˜Mum where do I keep you’ and I wasn’t wrong in casting her for my play. She actually taught and suggested few things which were quite good and I took her advice as well as some acting suggestions when we rehearsed together.”

So who is the lead, says Prashant, “I play the father and she the mother.”

”˜Samantar’ is a 2-hour play and has 4-5 songs in it. I spent three weeks in Mumbai working with Rohini and I must say she does not take her role lightly and does not compromise. She has now joined us a week before our Australia-wide tour starts when we will be doing intensive rehearsals.”

“Although this whole exercise has cost me a lot yet I find it quite satisfying.” Says Prashant who we are sure has not only seen the issues affecting our seniors from his own close encounter but has come up with a serious play which will make everyone think deep, because when Rohini read the script, she had exclaimed, “Oh! I have never  done anything like this before.”

Surely Sydney’s Indian community will be quite keen to see the play which is written by a local Indian writer/actor and who went all the way to India to sign up the great Rohini Hathangadi, no less.

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