One of Delhi’s oldest theatre groups comes alive again

May 12th, 2008 - 12:00 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil
By Radhika Bhirani
New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) They are an eclectic mix - doctors, housewives, bank officials, educationists and college students - all brought together by their love of theatre. The group, consisting of professional and amateur theatre artistes, is to resurrect the Three Arts Club, one of the oldest amateur theatre groups in the capital, after an almost 25-year hiatus.

The club has launched a three-day theatre festival here from May 11. Club members meet after office hours, or on weekends, for rehearsals. The club has been revived by Anuradha Dar, whose father R.M. Kaul was one of its founders. Dar runs a preparatory school here.

“Since my father was always an active theatre artiste, throughout my childhood I used to see people rehearse and act. I always felt that I should do something that he loved too,” Dar told IANS.

She plans to hold the theatre event annually. As part of the event, being held at Kamani Auditorium, the group is staging three plays - “Paisa Bolta Hai”, “Under Secretary” and “Bade Admi”.

“The festival is a tribute to my father as well as to Mr. Ramesh Mehta, who used to direct the plays of the club earlier. What better way to recognise his work?” she said. Ramesh Mehta, 85, was recently conferred the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for acting by President Pratibha Patil.

Saurabh Bhatnagar, a bank official and an actor in “Bade Aadmi”, started dabbling in theatre in 1989 during his college days. He feels theatre was earlier losing its sheen due to television soap operas, but now there is a resurgence in interest.

“I think people are now fed up with soaps and are once again beginning to enjoy stage performances,” he said.

His sister Sadhana Bhatnagar, who acted in the original play directed by Mehta, has directed “Bade Admi”.

Another actor, Govind Swarup Bajpai, an official with the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), has a 30 years’ association with theatre. Bajpai said it was his sheer love of acting that made him part of the new Three Arts Club.

The Three Arts Club was formed in 1943 by Om Sharma, R.M. Kaul and Devi Chand Kayasth. Its plays dealt with current themes affecting the people. Characters like clerks, servants and hawkers - whom one sees in daily life - peopled their plays.

The club successfully functioned for 40 years until Kaul’s death in 1983, compelling theatre actor-director Ramesh Mehta to wind it up.

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