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Nestled in the tranquil environs of suburban Mumbai, the tree lined winding path to Prithvi Theatre, is a beehive of activity celebrating the ongoing Prithvi Theatre Festival which kickstarted on November 3 to 18.
Pressed for time, overlooking the nitty gritty of putting the Prithvi Festival together, Kunal Kapoor, the director and trustee of the theater wants to make it a memorable event. After a two-year hiatus, the most-awaited event in many a theatre aficionados itinerary is back with an eclectic mix of plays, screenings, informal performances, exhibitions which will culminate into a one-day carnival. The Accoustic Sunday Jam consists of a medley of musical tunes experimenting with different genres. The canvas is indeed vast and varied, with 41 performances of 29 productions. So, while, we take a Walk In The Woods, to flying off to Neverland with Peter Pan, Wendy and the Darling Children, the audience can also relish the poetry and get a glimpse of renowned Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi's life brought alive by Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar and more.
Reminiscing about the old days, Kunal who took over the reins of managing the theatre after his mother Jennifer Kendall's demise, breaks many myths about his role. While, sister Sanjna remained in the public eye for her endeavours to put the theatre back on the road, it was Kunal, always a part of the functioning who toiled silently in the wings. Talking about the days when he "would hang around the place free of any tension," today, however, Kunal battles on many fronts. "Money and time being the biggest constraints, this year's festival has been a collective effort from theatre fraternity and well-wishers, without any corporate sponsors or government funding."
Talking about the financial crunch, Kunal explains, "the huge production of Complicete's Disappearing Number which performed in Mumbai and Hyderabad in 2010 exhausted not only the Prithvi team but also the sponsors." And then the decision to renovate the 35 year old structure in 2011, when the theatre closed down for repairs in November saw the fest being given the miss.