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At the Bharat Rang Mahotsav, a stage for Indian theatre's biggest names, four fresh NSD graduates have made their presence felt
The 15th Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM) is a stage for some of Indian theatre's biggest and most powerful names. They hold packed halls rapt with their storytelling, and their names are a buzzword for technical and technological marvels. So, who would care for four youngsters and their diploma productions? Ask Bimal Subedi, Muzammil Hayat, Sarika Pareek and Jeet Rai Hansda, new graduates of the National School of Drama, which organises BRM. For them, the theatre festival has been a coming-of-age experience.
"Theatre is in my blood. There are no two ways about it," says Subedi, a student from Nepal, who directed Miniature Moments of Life, a medley of short plays with heavy sociocultural undercurrents. Subedi's classmates nod in agreement. The group, in their twenties and early thirties, says that their plays are drawn from their roots. "I have been a history and political science student; maybe, that's why I am drawn to the sociopolitical events," he says. Growing up amid the upheavals of Nepal, Subedi didn't look far for inspiration. The different stories in Miniature Moments of Life start with trivial argument that snowball as the opposing parties refuse to relent. The stories do not converge into a whole, and the audience is free to arrive at their own conclusion. His next project is a film. "It is about Bhutanese refugees in Nepal," he adds. Miniature Moments of Life was staged on January 5, the first day of BRM, and the audience gave Subedi's experiments with absurdity (actors were used as a part of the stage design) a thumbs up.
Set design is an integral part of their course, and Sarika Pareek has never missed a class. "What people neglect in a broken bottle, can be the theme of my next play. I am attracted by objects and materials," she says. Her play Kneel Down revolves around women who work at an S&M (sadomasochism) club. The play explores the role of sex in life, living and relationships, and the irony of women who live two lives. "Gender politics is a field I wanted to explore in my plays. While my long-term goal is to get into commercial art direction, I want to expand on this play and take it to several other festivals," adds this budding theatre person from Rajasthan.