When Bharatram leaves his village, Rasoli, to work with his uncle Gokuldas Sawaram Bhatia – a powerful merchant prince in the great port city of Bombay – he is unaware that he leaves a love-struck Heli behind. With help from Bharatram’s mother, Heli resolves to follow him to Bombay. As it so happens, she gets an opportunity to use her knowledge of traditional medicine to cure the merchant Gokuldas of a life-threatening disease. In return, she asks for Bharatram’s hand in marriage, a request instantly granted by the grateful uncle. Bharatram is upset because he feels he has been forced into marriage against his wishes, and flees to the remote trading post of Rangoon in Burma, laying down impossible conditions for Heli to meet in order to reclaim him. Heli pursues Bharatram to Rangoon, only to find him chasing a beautiful young mistress. She resolves to find a way to meet his impossible conditions and trick Bharatram into loving her. Through the use of live music, beautifully hand-painted backdrop curtains, and a playhouse design, Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon promises to transport its audience to another time!
In 1985, Sunil Shanbag founded the theatre company Arpana. Its work is characterised by contemporary and original texts by Indian and international playwrights (in translation), strong performances, minimalist staging, and innovative use of music and design. In 2007, Shanbag directed the critically acclaimed Cotton 56, Polyester 84 which won three META awards at the Mahindra Theatre Festival, including Best Original Script for its writer, Ramu Raman. In 2012, Shanbag was invited to perform a Gujarati adaptation of All’s Well That Ends Well, as part of the Globe to Globe festival in London. In 2014, the play was invited back to the Globe for another run of shows in a month that marked the 450th birth anniversary of Shakespeare.