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September 10, 1999
Architect Helps Bring Bit of Maharashta to America
Nitish S Rele in Tampa
There was this traditional Maharashtrian house set in a village, fitted with the latest gadgets. If the traditional folk art design on the walls demanded attention, the computer, the television, the telephone, the Intel and AT&T posters and the Microsoft coffee mug, provided a modern touch that didn't somehow seem out of place there.
The recreation of the Maharashtrian house was one of the big sights at the recent ninth biennial Brihan Maharashtra Mandal Convention in San Jose.
There were also eye-catching full-size statues of Suvarna Kanya and Shanti Kanya carved out of Styrofoam and coated with gold paint. All these were displayed in the main lobby of the convention hall and provided the attendees with a touch of nostalgia.
The man behind these creations was Kishor Pathare of Orlando, Florida, who also assisted in the stage design of the grand show.
Theater and cultural activities are some of the passions of Pathare, an architect who works on several commercial, industrial and residential projects in Florida. He has also designed the Crystal Research Laboratory building and a systems room for McDonnell Douglas Corporation at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Orlando.
At the opening ceremony, Pathare had a show involving Maharashtrians coming over in 2049 from Venus for the annual convention. The setting was the Golden Gate Bridge in San Jose. A large glowing spacecraft landed on the stage in pitch darkness in a cloud of smoke and the "people from Venus" stepped out.
"A girl called Maya from Venus falls in love with a boy called Sagar," said Pathare. "In their conversation, there is a flashback of the 1999 convention."
There was also a 14-foot high replica of the Golden Gate Bridge, which Pathare made from fabric glued on a net.
Other stage props included a cup and saucers orbiting a coffee kettle, symbolic of a space station in orbit. It was followed by a Koli dance.
"On a giant screen, we showed ocean waves, while onstage we created a seashore scene," said Pathare. "A typical Maharashtrian boat was anchored in the sand, two palm trees, piers and a giant fishing net created a beautiful background for this dance by eight couples wearing typical fisherfolk costumes."
Then followed a ballroom scene for which Pathare created the right atmosphere using tall columns and high glass windows painted on Styrofoam.
"I completed all these scenes within a week," said Pathare. The planning for the entire show took place about a year ago. Pathare was in constant touch with Vishwas Godbole, the producer of the opening ceremony.
At the end of the show, the spacecraft took off with a roar while Maya bid Sagar farewell.
Pathare created the traditional Indian mandap scene for the welcome song. "I made the mandap out of satin in Florida and had it transported to California for the show."
He was then asked to take on another set design assignment. It was for a one-act play, Vilakshani, based on the life of the famous singer, Tansen. He designed it using "marble" walls of coloured Styrofoam panels.
"It was a challenge but I was all for it," said Pathare as he looks back at his stage design and work. "I thoroughly enjoyed what I got to do. It was time-consuming, but definitely fun."
This was not the first time Pathare had taken part in such an event. Two years ago, at the Maharashtra convention in Boston, he created a replica of a Maratha fort in the heart of the city for a Marathi tableau Janata Raja. The set comprised 60 panels, each 40-by-6 feet, made of fiberglass paper, wrapped around a wooden frame. It took almost two months to complete.
Pathare has also designed sets for an edition of the play,On Golden Pond. In 1994, he created the stage for the World Rotary Convention and four years ago, designed a set for Ratnakar Matkari's drama Satelota in Orlando.
"I grew up in a community in Bombay, which was involved in drama. I have acted in plays and somehow that led towards a fascination for stage design," he said.
After graduating from the Academy of Architecture, Bombay, in 1967, Pathare joined the Ranga Darshan dance group as an art director. In 1969, he left for England, where he worked for Pascal and Watson. In 1972, he came to the United States and moved to the Florida Spacecoast a year later.
In 1981, Pathare established his architectural engineering firm Kish Pathare Design Management Systems. And since then, there has been no looking back.
He plans now to work as an architectural consultant for charity organizations in India.
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