Shivasrushti 1974, Shivaji Park, Mumbai:
1974 was the Tri-centenary anniversary of coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The Trust planned to conceive a grand celebration to mark this historical event. This magnificent celebration was in the form of multi-faceted exhibition on open ground of Shivaji Park in Mumbai. The ambitious project was designated as ‘Shivsrushti’ the constitution of Shivaji Maharaj. A palatial set of a Maratha fort was created to showcase this exhibition. Simulation of historic Maratha sites like Temple of goddess Bhavani, Cliff of Shinhagad fort, fortification walls & bastions, iconic towers of Raigad Fort etc. were the enticing elements for the visitors.
The entrance of this exhibition was adorned with glorious life-size effigy of elephant. This elephant embellished with royal ornaments was the symbol of the sovereign Maratha Empire created by Shivaji Maharaj. Numerous Rare antiquities, weaponry, armors & coins from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya formerly known Prince of Wales Museum were also displayed for public in this exhibition. The famous sword of Shivaji Maharaj known as ‘Bhavani Talwar’ was the prime attraction of Shivsrushti. This sword was specially brought to Mumbai with utmost care from the Royal Palace in Satara.
Another popular element of Shivsrushti was a 22 minute long musical enactment which used to portray the Coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Almost 100 artists used to perform this pre-recorded historical musical drama. It was the first successful experiment of this kind in Marathi Drama fraternity. Its melodious music was composed by veteran music director Shri Vasant Desai and highly expressive, rhythmical lyrics were created by Shri. Ashok Paranjape. The show was directed by the acclaimed director Shri. Damu Kenkare and was written by Late. Babasaheb Purandare himself. Tremendous public response to this creation encouraged Babasaheb to produce a full length historical show to propagate the ideologies of Shivaji Maharaj. Hence, one can say that this 22 min long musical was the inception of the 3 hrs long magnum opus Janata Raja.
The grand exhibition conceived and created by the Trust left a deep impact in people’s mind and is fondly remembered even today. Unfortunately an extensive strike of Indian railway coincided with this month long exhibition. This caused financial losses and consecutively lot of bitter-sweet experiences. But the die-hard optimist Babsaheb believed that this project was an enriching experience for the Trust as well as himself.
The prime benefit from this project was new associations, renewed friendships and the enviable experience of a wide canvas…people driven by a common goal railed around Babasaheb and have remained with the Trust ever since.