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“SANDHYA TARA” – EVENING STAR

Kumudshankar and Ashlata are an elderly couple. Their three children are all grown up and living far away, the elder two with their own families. Life slows down and as their peers pass away, they worry about the future and wonder whether departed souls live on as twinkling stars in an evening sky.

They decide to downsize and sell their home. It fetches a handsome price. Hearing the news, the children descend on the household with their spouses to claim their share of the money. Thus begins the farce where each tries to outdo the other in proving his/her dire circumstances and hence the need for support from the parents.

Eldest son nick-named Buju is employed as a civil engineer at Bhilai. He is well employed and has recently been implicated in corruption charges. He is loud and boorish. He is his mother’s favorite child and he uses this to the fullest advantage in driving home his “need” for the money. His wife, the wily Surama, is an able ally in the venture.

Rekha, is her father’s favorite child. Her husband, Shibnath owns seven timber mills in Assam. Rekha, the sharp and aggressive daughter, wants her share of the proceeds. She prevails upon her husband to declare that all the mills have burnt to the ground. Shibnath reluctantly agrees and in his bumbling way, provides for much laughter.

The youngest, nicknamed Chhotu is a self-professed revolutionary who mouths Marxist rhetoric at the slightest pretext and needs money for his cigars and coffee. He initially derides conventional family values in conversation with Rekha. However, lured by a share of the fortune, he abandon’s ideology and quietly turns coat while agreeing to marry the girl of his father’s choice.

In order to lessen the burden on their own families, Buju and Rekha hit upon a plan of dividing the task of caring for their parents. They toss to see who would go with whom. Buju gets to take along Kumudshankar while Rekha gets Ashlata.

Are the elderly couple separated in their twilight years by the heartlessness of their children? Or does Kumudshankar have an ace up his sleeve? Through colorful characters and witty dialogue, this comedy by well known dramatist Manoj Mitra, exposes the plight of the elderly in their twilight years.

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