Silver hair. Golden years. Vivid colours.

The takeaways are many in Bobby Mallick and Rushi Dave’s light-hearted play about retirement.

Reading Time: 3 minutes


The phrase Ke Dil Abhi Bhara Nahin, is a fragment of an ever-popular song from the Hindi film Hum Dono (1961). The recent Sydney play of the same name, much like the song, speaks of unrequited dreams and unfulfilled ambitions.

The major transitional stages in life like starting university, getting married etc, can be dramatic but nothing beats the drama when entering the second innings of life after retirement. The play focuses on this phase of life where a retired couple look back and re-evaluate their lives.

The play, originally written in Marathi by Shekar Dhavalikar, is based on the lives of a couple who have been so engrossed in the mundane details of their day-to-day living that they have lost the emotional connection between them.

Translated into Hindi by Nachiket Dekhne and directed by Shashidhar Dandekar, the play was staged at the Pavilion Theatre in Castle Hill. It was presented by Prekshaa Arts and Culture in association with Heart and Soul Productions.

Rushi Dave as the protagonist Ashok and Bobby Mallik as his wife Asha, both gave stellar performances that brought credibility to their roles.

The first half of the play establishes that Ashok has finally planned to retire and withdraw from the business that he has painstakingly built. He confides in his daughter Radha, played by Priyanka Datar, that he is keen to spend more time with his wife Asha and wants to relax and travel with her.

Asha, on the other hand is bored and lonely as Ashok and other members of the family are engrossed in their own lives. Their son has migrated to Singapore with his family leaving a further void in her life. Asha has decided to get trained as a priest, helping people in the community with their religious activities. The humour and the drama unfold as Ashok is waiting for Asha who has booked herself into activities which keep her constantly busy.

Priyanka Datar and Bobby Mallick in Ke Dil Abhi Bhara Nahin
Priyanka Datar and Bobby Mallick (Source: Supplied)

It’s so often the case that the woman, perhaps more resilient socially and culturally, adapts to her senior years much better than the male counterpart. Moving on from her matronly and home care roles, she can redefine herself more effectively, finding ways to continue to contribute.

Engrossed in his professional endeavours, it is often different for the man.

The marital angst that then ensues, nothing like the marital angst of before, requires new forms of resolution.

On stage, the arguments and counter arguments continue between the couple regarding their lifestyle and everyday living. Rushi Dave regales the audience with his hilarious antics and Bobby Mallik matches them with her crisp and caustic dialogue delivery.

Meanwhile, a new avenue of engagement presents itself – the Senior Citizens club – in a cameo by the brilliant Shashikant Dandekar.

The second half of the play takes a slightly serious turn, as they both start recalling their journey of trails and triumphs, starting out as a newly married couple. The dialogues in this part of the play became a little repetitive and jaded as most things were already stated in the first half.

In a calm and considered resolve, Ashok and Asha decide to decline further family care responsibilities, choosing self-care instead.

For them, retirement now means so much more than sitting back and slowing down – it means discovering newer aspects of themselves. It’s almost as if they’re saying ke Dil abhi bhara nahin: We have so much more to experience.

It’s an attitude we might recognise in our own senior years, and one that the younger members of our families might do well to comprehend.

Prekshaa Arts production Ke Dil Abhi Bhara Nahin
(Source: Supplied)

The background music, arranged by Sameer Bhole and the stage lighting provided by Sagar Agashe, both enhanced the theatrical experience and added to the impact of the play. Costumes however, could perhaps have received a bit more attention.

The beautiful stage set-up, instead of being on a raised platform, was set at the same level as the audience, making it an intimate and relaxed experience.

READ MORE: Why we need a new kind of Nayika: Belvoir St Theatre

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