The show begins

A Far Cry

Bharat Rang Mahotsav, the ongoing annual theatre festival organised by the National School of Drama, feature almost 90 productions — from comedies and classics to commentaries on social, political and patriarchal structures. Here's a glimpse of notable productions that showcased there, from the India and abroad

Among the highlights of the Bharat Rang Mahotsav is actor Kulbhushan Kharbanda returns to the stage with Vinay Sharma-directed play Atmakatha. The play in Hindi revolves around a famous writer, who has decided to write his autobiography. As he dictates the words, he realises that 'truth' about the past is a relative term, and the people who surrounded him — especially his wife, sister-in-law and the scribe — have their own version of events. The play will inaugurate the Bharat Rang Mahotsav.

Politically Charged

Theatre is never far from politics, and several plays made a direct allusion to current sociopolitical scenario. Manipuri director Joy Maisnam and his team, for instance, pored through newspapers for nine days and devised the script for the play 9 Days Newspaper. The hero is a filmmaker, who is shunned by the very society whose pain he wanted to capture in his reels. Insurgency in the North-East is the subject of A Far Cry by Ningthouja Deepak, another Manipuri director, while Gagan Damama Bajoyo recreates the life of Bhagat Singh, and Mohandas — a tongue-in-cheek reminder of the Father of the Nation — focuses on the aam admi's life in the post-Independence India.

Timeless Stories

No theatre festival is complete without the towering presence of William Shakespeare. Among these, Twelfth Night gets a hilarious Hindi treatment in Piya Behroopia, while Wendy Jhelan from the US tackles Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and Titus Andronicus in her choreographed piece. Among the classics, the Ramayana is revisited in Meghnad Badh Kabya, a Bengali production based on a poem by Michael Madhusudan Dutt, in which Ravana and Meghnad are portrayed as brave warriors. Stories from the Mahabharata are interpreted in Matte Ekalavye, which is about Ekalavya, and Sarpa Sutra, which presents two versions of the same story — one by Veda Vyasa and the other by poet Arun Kolatkar, about serpent king Takshaka, who loses his family when Arjuna — spurred on by Krishna — destroys the Khandava forest.

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