YE JO HAI ZINDAGI – an invisible love

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland LIVE, Auckland

18/07/2014 - 20/07/2014

Production Details

Just like human body, every city has a life of its own, depending upon the people living in it. Auckland breathes through its lively people who, despite belonging to different cultures, not only live harmoniously but also have remained connected to their roots, making this city a cultural cocktail.

We Indian hoot together on All Blacks every try in Eden Park stadium, we celebrate Ganesh-utsava with all the pomp and splendor, we dance dil khol ke in lodhi and of-course, we glitter as marvelously as the puja-diyas with dandiya sticks tic-tacing in Navaratri. After all this is what zindagi is all about! Finding happiness in the good as well as bad things of life and wading through them with the sheer force of love, and faith in each other.

With this very strong message, RANGMANCH- a popular organization amongst the Indian community of Auckland which has built a strong reputation of offering quality Gujarati & Hindi dramas since the past 7 years, presents – ‘Ye Jo Hai Zindagi-an invisible love”, a critically acclaimed play directed by Shailesh Prajapati, Live at The Herald Thetre, Aotea Center, on 18th, 19th & 20th of July 2014.

Originally written by Gujarati Indian playwright Saumya Joshi, ‘Ye Jo Hai Zindagi-an invisible love”, is about a family where the father and son fail to communicate. The father is on the verge of retirement and the son is looking for a bright career. The director aptly shows the upper class aspiration and differences between both. The cast includes Rupal Solanki, Chirag Solanki and Shailesh Prajapati. 

Director Shailesh Prajapati says audiences will be able to relate to the themes and characters and those who complain that theater is a dying art would have been surprised at just how many people turned up for this play when it was performed in India by Saumya Joshi and his team with the humorous and at times emotional conflict between the three characters – the father, son and mother from the Ganatra Family, the crowd was glued to their seats. There’s a scene in the play where the character, Bhanu Ganatra (Rupal Solanki) says, “Kaan na jalsa aankhon thi naa karaaye!” which, when roughly translated, means, “One cannot enjoy the pleasures of the ear through the eyes”. This line is quite befitting to describe this remarkable Gujarati play written by Saumya Joshi, for one needs to watch and actually ‘hear’ these characters and their story, rather than ‘read’ about them. Some say body language, and not verbal language is what connects people. And the marvelous actors of Rangmanch’s will prove this saying right, as team of “Ye Jo Hai Zindagi” will say so much through their actions that despite not knowing a word of Gujarati, one will not misses the essence of the play.

Actor Chirag Solanki says it is important to the cast to keep the language alive.

The actors are all unpaid and are performing for a love of theatre. “Vivek Ganatra”, played by Chirag Solanki, is a young and dynamic guy with a fire in his belly, dreams in his eyes, yet his feet are grounded, albeit in a mire of his past. The little grudges he’s been nursing since his childhood eventually grow up to become ogres of misunderstanding between him and his father, Arun Ganatra. There is a scene where he describes that his friendship with a rich guy isn’t because of the wealth he possesses, but because he is indeed a true friend. When we asked Chirag what you like the most about the play, he answered that it is the playful satire of the mother on her husband and son’s arguments and the subtle yet recognizable awkwardness the father felt in expressing how concerned he was about his son.

Where the mother played by actor Rupal Solanki says that the dialogues of Bhanu Ganatra are peppered with Kathiawadi accent, which works for the play despite being at the risk of sounding like Supriya Pathak’s popular ‘Ae Prafull’ twang in the TV series, ‘Khichdi’. The best thing about this character is almost every lady in the auditorium will be relate to Bhanu Ganatra and says “I could already see many ladies nodding in déjà vu and sighing, ‘Saache j, aavu j thaai’ i.e. ‘this what actually will happen on the day of performances of ‘Ye Jo Hai Zindagi-an invisible love-” Gujarati Comedy Paly.

Calling ‘Ye Jo Hai Zindagi’ a ‘comedy’ one could say along with this aweinspiring, goose bump-inducing, rib-tickling play would be: Factual Fiction.

Like any average Gujarati play Ye Jo Hai Zindagi would be termed, as a light comedy- if one likes that tag- but at the same time one will not miss the finer nuances. Ye Jo Hai Zindagi might as well be the high point in the present Gujarati theatre scenario. If the play succeeds, it will prove that Gujarati audiences indeed crave good theatre, and that an excuse for only banal comedies being successful on the commercial stage is just a myth. 

The producers say they have tremendous support from sponsors i.e. ASB Community Trust, Creative community – Auckland Council, Bank of Baroda, New Zealand ltd., Mt. Roskill Accountants, Indigo Finance Services Ltd., Raj Motors Ltd., Apex Air and Valley Fruits and Vegetables, Sandringham, where media partners are Hum FM 106.2, Weekender and Indonz Film Company Ltd. 

Ye Jo Hai Zindagi – an invisible love is at
The Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre,
on 18th, 19th and 20th of July 2014 at 7pm
and on Friday & Saturday where on Sunday at 4pm.

Tickets for only $25, and available in person at “VALLEY FRUITS AND VEGES” 576, SANDRINGHAM ROAD. PH :- 09 846 5050.
And also for Group booking and more info you can contact :- Shailesh Prajapati on 0210310232, Chirag Solanki on (09) 2154966 & Vinay Mehta on (09) 2153041

Visit us at

Producer, Director, Actor:  Shailesh Prajapati
Co-Producer, Actor:  Chirag Sinh Solanki
Lead Actor:  Rupal Solanki   
Production Manager:  Hina Dalwadi
Asst. director:  Hardik Chauhan
Publicity & Floor management:  Babla Banerjee  
Set Designer & Builder:  Drama Magic Ltd 
Special Live Effect:  LiveFX Ltd
Light Operator/Assistant Director:  Lajja Prajapati
Sound Operator:  Kedar Divekar  
Music/Mike Operator inAmtho Atavayo :- Gujarati, Sudhir Gadgil Talk how :- Marathi, Badtameej Dil, Operation Ishq Mohabbat & Lights Operator for Operation Ishq Mohabba  

What it is Rangmanch 

Our aim is to promote Ethnic Indian performing arts among the migrant Indian, Fiji Indian, Nepalese, Pakistani Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi communities. 

We would also seek to involve interested and talented technicians/artistes from all other communities to be part of our projects, as lighting and sound engineers, set designers, make up artistes, costume designers etc. 

Their involvement could be voluntary or against costs particularly off set for such work in our budget. 

Pioneering with well deserved pride

Review by Rahul Gandhi 20th Jul 2014

The festive spirit is palpable as a community gathers around the Herald theatre in Aotea Square, weathering a cold and wet night in stark contrast to their spirits, which aren’t dampened in the least.  Familiar faces beam at each other, obviously excited of staging a show in their vernacular tongue. 

Patrons are having a laugh pre-show as they reminisce about the Gujarati plays of yore. It is excellent to see members of the audience – perhaps many who have not witnessed a Gujarati play in Auckland before – take responsibility and help out with the last minute ushering, housekeeping, evenhushing the chattering crowd into silence prior to taking their own seats. 

Such ownership among the community indicates to me, that Rangmanch is staging an important play, for the Gujarati diaspora and the wider Auckland community in general. 

The production crew have explained to me that of the vernacular thespian genres in India, Gujarat is among the finest and most prolific centres and it was surprising that not many had attempted a play that reflected this. This night’s attempt is to showcase the subtlety and beauty of the Gujarati language and its expositions of life through this powerful drama; albeit laced with comic moments.

The Herald theatre is the ideal setup, with its steep rise, providing an unobstructed view. 

Amongst the audience are Gujaratis of course, but also Parsis, Bengalis and Maharashtrians, all delighting in what is a very engaging bit of theatre originally written by Saumya Joshi, but adapted by Rangmanch’s Sailesh Prajapati. 

The set, wonderfully crafted to depict a typical middle class flat in Andheri, is splayed out on stage. The door to this apartment, to the far right, has the customary toran and photos of the Gujarati Saint Jalaram Bapu, who is endearingly addressed as a deux ex-machina throughout the play. 

Refreshingly it has a cast of three, portraying the average Indian, middle-class household.  The Ganatra family, headed by the stoic middle-aged father Arun (Shailesh Prajapati) and the level-headed mother Bhanu (Rupal Solanki) try to come to grips with the hot-headed spirit of the newer generation, a 25 year old freshly minted MBA graduate, Vivek (Chirag Solanki).

Through vignettes, the cast effectively portrays the dynamics of each relationship, and how a clash of egos between the father and son prevent them from voicing their deep love and concern for each other. They aren’t really on talking terms despite living under the same roof. 

This depiction is a good study of the male ego and the spirit of enterprise that the middle-class Indian entertains; to go beyond what is immediately available.  Arun constantly refers to his humble background and his ascendancy to the position of head clerk in an accounting firm. He is proud to have served the company until his imminent retirement. His succour thus far has been the duty and responsibility towards his family, and even though it may not be an overt expression of affection, his love is to be understood through unseen actions. 

Vivek, on the other hand, is standing on the shoulders of giants as he dreams of becoming a businessman – a choice not immediately supported by his cautious father who, in his wisdom, urges a less risky path to happiness. Albeit stubborn, he is not your average rebellious son – his unusual tendencies towards principle-centred values and Indian classical music becoming immediately apparent during the play. He refers to instances where he is not merely blinded by the power of money but has been driven by the responsibility of taking care of the family. He fails to see his father’s love and rues several instances of his childhood wherein he was chided. 

The plot is not complex but brings out superbly the nuances of family drama. The request by the son to consider and fund a business proposition is greeted with healthy scepticism by the father. He urges the son to exercise patience and caution. This is taken as a sign of disapproval, and the son tries hard to reconcile between his own ambitions and his sense of duty towards the family.

Throughout the play, each character is earnest and unselfish in expressing their ‘tensions’ – a need to secure a good future for the family.  What eventuates amidst a series of misunderstandings is reconciliation, revealed only when Vivek gets an accidental glimpse into the mind of the father as he reads out his retirement speech to his wife. 

Prajapati is no stranger to the stage and is able to handle the role with aplomb. Arun Ganatra’s soulful speech brings a tear to many an eye, and aunties fumble for their handkerchiefs as he acknowledges the role that Bhanu has played in his life.  It is clear that he has studied the role and plays it with an authority befitting the father figure, careful, calculated and responsible.  

Rupal Solanki’s version of Bhanu is a breath of fresh air, free of the egotistical boundaries that the father and son have set and forms an apt and unshakable ‘bridge’ – as she likes to refer to herself – bonding the family together through thick and thin. It is easy to see how effectively she is able to manage the two egotistical males, and perceives love at a much deeper level. 

Her ability to break the fourth wall is admirable, and she engages the audience immediately with witticisms and musings of the Indian mother. Her playful jibes at both husband and son provide much needed comic relief to a play that would otherwise be quite sombre. One cannot get enough of her on stage.

Chirag Solanki’s compelling portrayal of Vivek is appreciated by the audience as he talks of his own challenges in understanding his father. There is a sensitivity about Vivek that Chirag has understood and is able to bring out at the right moments, especially as he brings his father gifts on the sly on the day of his retirement.  

The prudent use of light, sound and special effects portray the hustle of Mumbai life: the local trains rushing across in a frenzy, casting shadows across the wall; the rains lashing against the panes. The music is carefully chosen and provides just the right accompaniment to the stagecraft by the trio. 

The ease with which this play is staged belies the complexity of language, casting and theatre art. This is an important play, a pioneering attempt at Gujarati theatre in Aotearoa. During the curtain call, the entire crew descends upon stage, ushers included, amidst great cheers and they are all incredibly proud of having been part of this show. As they should be.


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