NSD’s Bharat Rang Mahotsav kicks off

Chief Secretary Ashwani Kumar addressing the gathering. T. Singaravelou

Chief Secretary Ashwani Kumar addressing the gathering. T. Singaravelou   | Photo Credit: T. Singaravelou

The week-long theatre festival will feature five Indian and two foreign plays

When actor-director M. Nasser declared his compelling body of work as film actor to be of no greater value than the accomplishments of a stage artiste, the theatre buffs in the arena might have thought he was merely reading the room than being a straight shooter.

“I truly feel I am in no way greater than a theatre artiste who takes the stage in any village far or near,” the veteran actor told an audience of theatre buffs gathered at the Adishakti for the launch and opening act of the 21st Bharat Rang Mahotsav’s parallel theatre festival hosted by the National School of Drama.

“Deep in my heart, I want to be on stage,” remarked the man who rules South Indian cinema as one of its foremost critically acclaimed actors, while removing any lingering doubts that he meant what he said. He recounted how he had sent his son for a workshop at Adishakti to pick up acting chops and the experience was life-changing for the young man. “I’ll live my life as an actor but I will never act in films,” his son had told him.“As an art form, theatre has seen all the trends which come and go but it is still growing and maintaining its legacy among the generations. Stages like BRM are providing individuals with access to some uncommon dramatic experiences”.

It is important to take theatre seriously, especially at a time when India is changing rapidly and digital forms predominated entertainment. “Theatre is people’s art whether it is folk, contemporary or experimental and where the artiste and the audience are engaged in face-to-face communication,” Mr. Nasser said.

He concluded with a call for hosting more such festivals to bring back glory to the art of theatre.

Ashwani Kumar, Chief Secretary, underscored the challenge of reviving the fading forms of folk arts and theatre and making them relevant as he recalled watching ‘nautanki’ folk operatic theatre in his childhood days.

“The motto behind such festivals is to represent theatre as an aspect rooted in local societies, which lays the foundation on which the theatre practitioners perform. We are delighted that the National School of Drama is giving a platform to the youth to pursue their dreams,” the Chief Secretary said. Arjun Deo Charan, NSD acting chairman, said, Indian theatre tradition drew from the Natyasastra treatise, which classified the four types of abhinaya as ‘angika’ (body movement), ‘vachika’ (dialogue), ‘aaharya’ (costumery) and ‘saattvika’ (emoting).

He pointed to the Hanuman Natak, an early form of theatre, as personifying the actor-character duality where Raavan on assuming the identity of Ram to trick Sita, finds that all lust has dissolved and is overcome by virtuousness when he becomes the character.

“Theatre brings meaning to people and the position of an actor is held highly in our country. An actor should be mindful of their own emotions and the emotions of their character. The NSD brings out the best in actors, while at the same time giving audiences a chance to appreciate world class theatre through festivals like BRM.”

Wider reach

Suresh Sharma, director in-charge, National School of Drama, while appreciating artistes from the national and international theatre fraternity, said, “The idea of BRM is to reach out to a much wider set of audiences with works from modern and regional theatre. We hope to highlight the importance of theatre and plays and promote the culture of appreciating various forms of performing arts.”

Abhilash Pillai, Dean (Academics), NSD, also addressed the audience. The week-long theatre festival will be featuring five Indian and two foreign plays.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 1:55:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/nsds-bharat-rang-mahotsav-kicks-off/article30814297.ece

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