Eight plays, to be performed next month, have been shortlisted for the Mahindra Theatre Excellence Awards 2014

After rigorous months that saw over 300 entries pouring in from theatre groups, the selection committee for Mahindra Theatre Excellence Awards 2014 has picked its eight final names. The number usually reaches ten every year, but Ravi Dubey, the festival’s Creative Director, says that this time, the jury decided to value quality over quantity. “Unfortunately, around 12 or 13 entry tapes were not clear, and could not be judged. In effect, we had 290 odd entries to judge from.”

While the selection committee names remain confidential, Dubey shares the names that will constitute this year’s META jury. “We have Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Shabana Azmi, Shyam Benegal, Swati Bhise and Utkarsh Majumdar on the jury this time.” He adds that META looks for very experienced professionals, primarily from the field of performing arts, especially theatre, to invite as jury members. “Swati Bhise is from the field of dance and music, which is important, considering that these are important components of many plays,” he says.

Dubey has taken care to stay out of the judging procedure, especially this year. This is because in a happy coincidence, his wife, Lillete Dubey’s play, has made the cut, and his daughter, Ira Dubey, has been nominated in the Best Actor in Lead Role (Female) Category. “I am going to make sure and not be present for the jury’s discussions on the plays also, and will see them only with the rest of the audience when they are performed,” he says.

Along with “9 Parts of Desire” directed by Lillete Dubey and produced by Primetime Theatre Company from Mumbai, the nominated plays include “Gabarghichor” directed by Praveen Kumar Gunjan and produced by The Fact Art and Cultural Society from Begusarai, “The Open Couple” directed by Faraz Khan and produced by 71 MM Productions from Hyderabad, “Purushasukta” directed by Joseph Jon and produced by Abhjnana Theatre Research Foundation from Bangalore, “Moment Just before Death” directed by Liju Krishna and produced by Saga Entertainment from Thrissur, “C Sharp C Blunt” directed by MD Pallavi and Sophia Stepf and produced by Individual Performer from Bengaluru, “Piya Behrupia” directed by Atul Kumar and produced by The Company Theatre from Mumbai, “Macbeth” directed by MG Jyothish and produced by Abhinaya Theatre Research Centre from Thiruvananthpuram. Apart from Best Play, the other META awards will include Best Director, Best Choreography, Best Supporting Actor (Male and Female), Best Ensemble and Best Original Script, among others.

The plays will be performed for the jury and the audience from March 3-8, 2014, and the awards night will be on March 9, 2014, at Taj Mahal hotel, Man Singh Road.