National School of Drama’s Bharat Rang Mahotsav, popularly known as ‘Bharangam’, is held every year in New Delhi and in one other place. This year, Lucknow has the pride of being part of the festival and patrons here get the chance to see choicest plays from, besides various Indian states, Czechoslovakia, Israel, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. To ensure that the festival is a big draw, the organisers have decided to allow entry free and even offer a bus service to ferry patrons from one venue to another.
“Theatre finds its relevance all the more in times of crisis. We hope the Pakistani play will strike the right chord,” said Anuradha Kaul, Director NSD, in town on Friday for a curtain raiser of the festival that commences from Sunday, January 11. The inauguration would be at the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi and the opening day attraction will be ‘Layla Majnun’, directed by Ram Gopal Bajaj.
“There had been a longstanding demand to hold the festival somewhere in the Hindi belt and between Patna and Lucknow, we chose the latter,” said NK Sarin from the NSD, adding that Rs 75 lakh had been allocated for the Lucknow schedule, comprising a payment of Rs 60,000 to each troupe for every performance.
In the festival that will be held from January 11 to 19, (UPSNA and Rai Umanath Bali auditoriums; 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm, respectively) patrons would be treated to non-Hindi/English presentations comprising ‘Macbeth’ in Assamese, ‘The Days of Adel’ an 80-minute play in Hebrew, ‘Aurangzeb’ in Bengali and ‘Sahyande Makan—The Elephant Project’ in Malayalam. “Theatre has a language of its own and even if a play is in a language you don’t know a word of, the sounds, expressions, light effects, etc will tell you the story,” offers Kaul.
MS Sathyu of ‘Garam Hawa’ fame and lyricist Swanand Kirkire (Parineeta, Lage Raho Munnabhai) are two directors associated with the film industry whose plays, ‘Girija Ke Sapne’ and ‘Aao Saathi Sapna Dekhen’, respectively, are part of the festival. The audience would even have the opportunity to interact with the play directors.
With so much in store, the tribe of theatre lovers in Lucknow should grow.