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Curtains down

Curtains down
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Enthralling 16 days, 71 productions and some magnificent plays, 16th Bharat Rang Mahotsav concluded on Sunday and left the Capital’s theatre enthusiasts craving for more drama. The final day concluded with a tamasha. Originally founded to showcase works of Indian theatre practitioners this year the festival catered 7 overseas plays from China, Poland, Germany, Sri Lanka, Japan and Israel.

The concluding ceremony took place at Kamani Auditorium with foot tapping lavani with an engaging and interesting plot and story line, performed by Sambhaji Raje Jadhav’s Loknatya, Maharashtra’s traditional form of folk theatre, tamasha, was the curtain dropper of the biggest theatre festival this year.

The plot goes as one day an argument breaks out between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati about who and where the best women in the world are. Parvati believes that Lord Brahma’s Savitri, Lord Vishnu’s Lakshmi, and Parvati herself, are the most superior women in the world. Shiva, on the other hand is of the opinion that Maryada Purushottam Rama’s wife Sita, Sati Anusuyya and King Shriyald’s queen Shanguna, are the most supreme. Paravti remains unconvinced of her husband’s view and decides to put Queen Shanguna to the test and the story unfolds.

Another play that was performed by Nation School Of Drama’s Production titled,
Clock Work Orange
based on the novel by the same name. The novel is dealing with several concerns amongst which are the necessities of free will, the influence of the idea of original sin over environmental behaviourism, the oppression of socialism, the immaturity of youth culture, and so on. Added to this is an under layer of violence in each concern – the violence for identity as envisioned by the state or by the individual. In this performance of Clockwork Orange the performers try to explore the expectation of violence in the making of our own presence—by state or by the individual.

The festival saw a gigantic response in every area be it the 3 phase of ticket sale which grossed lakh on the first day, house full boards on almost every show and repetition of plays on public demand. Various seminars and book launches also took place. Apart from the national and international performances that are staged during the Festival also included were exhibitions, installations, interactive sessions with directors and performers for the general public and professionals, a vibrant theatre café, open forums and meetings and a shorter festival in another city to which some of the productions travel.

Unveiling a memoir

On Thursday, a book titled Me and My Plays was launched. Written by Mahesh Dattani, a playwright, stage director, screen writer and film maker whose work has shaped contemporary English theatre in India over the past twenty-five years, boldly explored themes like homosexuality, religious fanaticism, child sexual abuse and gender bias in this book.

Included in this edition are Where Did I Leave My Purdah? which explores the life and travails of Nazia, a feisty actress now in her eighties, who is forced to confront her past demons when she attempts to stage a comeback, and The Big Fat City
, a black comedy about the residents of an apartment complex in Mumbai who unwittingly become accomplices to a murder. Intense and hard hitting, both plays deal with the lies that simmer beneath the surface of our daily lives.

Documenting journeys

For the past five years Sanjay Maharshi has been collaborating with the National School of Drama to produce a series of films on the practice and processes of theatre. These films were also released during the festival. The films have been produced keeping in mind not only their academic purpose but also to appeal to theatre students, scholars, and enthusiasts alike.

Maharishi is a photographer, editor and producer of documentary films. His films on Habib Tanvir, The Doyen of Indian Theatre, have been widely screened in India and outside. Sanjay’s films have made him travel the length and breath of India.
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