‘The Hindu’ Theatre Fest comes to Hyderabad

The Hindu Theatre Fest in Hyderabad prides itself of a line-up that celebrates theatre that is original, contemporary and inclusive

July 30, 2019 02:29 pm | Updated August 25, 2019 06:36 am IST

Under the umbrella of The Hindu Theatre Fest that has become synonymous with August, a panoply of human emotions is waiting to unfold across Coimbatore, Chennai and Hyderabad. From epic re-tellings, classic re-inventions, fiery feminist drama, poignant and powerful everyday narratives, ideas and abstracts that disturb and compel us to look inward to simple and complex human stories that make us laugh and cry at the same time, the Fest is a distinctive blend of a powerful theatre experience that is reflective not only of the times that we live in but also of a community that is constantly attempting to push the creative envelope and produce theatre that is relevant, and cutting-edge.

Cultural initiative

Fifteen years ago, with an intent to create and cultivate a theatre culture in Chennai, The Hindu pioneered an exclusive festival dedicated to theatre — The Hindu Theatre Fest — that has, consistently grown in size, showcase, and following, and has fostered a significant theatre movement in the cities that it has travelled — Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Cochin and Hyderabad.

With an exclusive line-up of plays that cut across genres, subjects and theatre companies and in an attempt to celebrate theatre that is classic, contemporary and experimental, The Hindu Theatre Fest presents a three-day festival in the city coinciding with its 15th year.

Speaking about the Fest, its Curator and former Editor of The Hindu, Mukund Padmanabhan says, “It’s always a pleasure to bring theatre to Hyderabad; it is a city that has always responded most enthusiastically to the Fest.”

Adds Akarsh Khurana, who is at the helm of Akvarious Productions and who has travelled frequently to Hyderabad with his work: “I think Hyderabad is a very giving audience. I’ve watched and staged plays there that range from laugh out loud comedies and inaccessible absurd pieces. But the audiences have always been supportive. They seem to want to enjoy themselves. What more could performers ask for?”

The opening act at the Fest this year is Naseeruddin Shah-directed Manto , an offering from the acclaimed Motley theatre company. The latest production from the group that recently premiered in Mumbai, this production in Hindustani, inspired by the works of Saadat Hasan Manto and Ismat Chughtai, centers around the word “obscene”. Powerful, witty and superbly relevant, this work features an amazing cast of storytellers including Ratna Pathak Shah.

Occupying centre spot in the line-up is Akvarious Productions’ Dekh Behen . Directed by Prerna Chawla and Shikha Talsanaia, Dekh Behen — in English and Hindi, is a “funny, irreverent and a touching celebration of women’s spirit”. Speaking about it, its Producer, Akarsh Khurana says, “ Dekh Behen started off as a play with a fully female cast and crew and turned into a bit of a monster hit. It’s a play that’s fun, gives people something to think about. It depicts urban women as they really are — with candour, profanity, warts and all.”

Every year, with an intent to recognise the idea of quality and originality in play writing, the Fest plays host to The Hindu Playwright Award. Last year, Hello Farmaaish by Sneh Sapru made it to the final Shortlist. This year, as a full-length production, directed by Yuki Ellias, the play is the ultimate act at the Fest.

Using the language of magic realism, the play transports its audiences to a forgotten hamlet where “three village misfits use a community radio to follow Kalpana Chawla’s odyssey to space. Their daily broadcast sets off a flight of imagination and misadventures”.

Speaking about the play and its plot, Yuki Ellias says, “Our story is a tribute to the rural community radio stations of India. During our research we met many radio jockeys from rural stations in the Mewat region of Haryana who shared their intrepid stories with us; they are inspiring women and men who, through their broadcasts, work towards expanding ideas, extending support and creating new horizons for their communities.”

Pretty much what theatre intends to do; engage, enrich, inspire and entertain.

Tickets available on  www.insider.in  and The Hindu's Theatre Fest page

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