Let the show begin
National School of Drama rings in 2014 with its annual drama extravaganza in the form of International Festival of Drama – The 16th Bharat Rang Mahotsav. In an elegant function, the festival was inaugurated at the Kamani Auditorium in the Capital during the weekend.
This year’s International Drama Festival highlights the various faces of Indian theatre and brings to Delhi 71 performances by renowned theatre groups from different parts of India and the world, on same platform so that theatre aficionados, students and visitors can watch and be entertained and enriched by their performances.
The festival will feature a complete kaleidoscope of various theatre styles starting from classical, including modern, western and finishing in folk theatre; thus showing the different faces of Indian theatre to the audience. If this was not all, Bharat Rang Mahotsav this time highlights traditional folk theatre from about every part of the country bringing 11 performances from folk and traditional theatre, making it the ultimate platform of interaction and education of theatre.
As a parallel festival, Bharat Rang Mahotsav this year goes out to the exotic North East with 6 plays this year. NSD touches the hearts of Imphal and Guwahati with 3 international plays from Israel, Japan and Sri Lanka and 3 Indian plays which includes a Tamasha. This parallel festival will be on from 9 January.
The opening play of the festival was Chhaya Shakuntalam. The play is a retelling of Kalidasa’s Abhijnana Shakuntalam by the famous Hindi poet Udayan Vajpeyi. The original provides an intuitive shade of ingenuity and stimulates a sensitive semblance in this recreation. The masterpiece work is decoded and further encoded into the new text, which in turn provides the input for the subtext. The title of the play contains the word Abhijnana which is indicative of oblivion and remembrance, two psychogenic functions of the mind experienced by Dushyanta, the protagonist of the play.
The theme of the play suggests that the limit of one’s own rights irrespective of whether one is the ruler or the ruled has to be prescribed by some superimposed sanction, lest the social equilibrium would be disturbed. Whichever age we belong to, the problem repeats itself in different contemporary dimensions.
The idea of an individual vis-à-vis the society is subtly presented in the play wherein Dushyanta in his lovelorn state faces the social questioning about the meaning of mrigaya. Unmindful of this note of caution, he dabbles in his own amorous fancies. The loss of memory about his commitment to Shakuntala is attributed to the curse of sage Durvasa. However, when calmed down the angry sage takes back his words of fury and offers a device for redemption from his own curse, where the signet ring plays an important role. In the final scene of reunion, people kindle the king’s memory by handing over the ring to him. Apart from the theatre shows, Bharat Rang Mahotsav this year will also be bringing the national theatre luminaries and their international counterparts together.