Prithvi Theatre pays tribute to playwright Satyadev Dubey

November 14th, 2008 - 2:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Nov 14 (IANS) The ambience is perfect and the weather pleasant. There is a slight nip in the air, especially, in the seaside Juhu area, during Mumbai’s ever-so-short winter.Janki Kutir, an exclusive area with a cluster of a mix of high-rise apartment buildings and a few old-world cosy bungalows shadowed by symmetrically grown coconut trees makes it a perfect setting for an intimate cultural event called Prithvi Theatre Festival.

There is something pristine about the place, which is more pronounced because of the existence of Prithvi Theatre there. The building itself is not a great edifice, but it exudes culture in the most charming way. A bit of bohemia wafts around the place.

Unlike in the past, the freewheeling spirit is now more purposeful, thanks to Sanjana Kapoor. Ever since she took over the reins of the Prithvi Theatre from her illustrious parents, Jennifer and Shashi Kapoor, 16 years ago, she made Prithvi Theatre a nursery of refined sentiments and a haunt of the cultured.

And she made the Prithvi Theatre Festival, now in its 30th year, an eagerly awaited annual event in the cultural calendar of Mumbai.

This year, the festival acquires a unique status because all the 10 plays comprising the festival repertoire have been handpicked by the guru of modern Hindi theatre, Satyadev Dubey. So, this year’s festival is, in a way, a tribute to the master playwright.

In fact, Dubey’s Dubeyana is so pronounced in the plays being staged during the 10-day fest since Nov 6 that some theatre enthusiasts have jocularly commented that this year’s Prithvi Theatre Festival bespeaks Dubey on Dubey.

There is also an exhibition on him called “Theatre Ke Anokhe Dubey”, which tries to capture the “method in his madness” and encapsulate “Dubey as teacher, inspiration, path breaker, entertainer and provocateur”.

“It is impossible to give a comprehensive overview of his life in theatre. The exhibition is actually about the extraordinary, and often eccentric contribution of one man to theatre and we are presenting it in Dubey style - informative, irreverent, interesting but always entertaining,” Sameera Iyenger, who has put together the exhibition, told IANS.

What does the Prithvi Theatre Festival mean to Sanjana, the woman who is managing the show now?

“It means as much to me as theatre itself. Perhaps, theatre means more to me, even though managing a theatre festival gives me another high,” she said.

The plays being staged at three different venues - Prithvi Theatre, Karnataka Sangha and Horniman Circle Garden - are in Hindi, English and Marathi with celebrities like Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak, Makrand Deshpande, Rajat Kapoor and Sarita Joshi acting in them.

On the closing day on Nov 16, the festival will also present a film screening of Vijay Tendulkar’s “Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe”, which Dubey had directed in the early 70s.

The 10 plays produced by as many theatre groups are Akvarious Productions’ “All About Women”, directed by Hidaayat Sami, Cinematograph’s “C For Clown”, directed by Rajat Kapoor, Awishkar and Theatre Unit’s “Khuda Ke Liye Mat Dekhna”, written and directed by Dubey, Arpana’s “Cotton 56, Polyester 84″, directed by Sunil Shanbag, Ekjute’s “Sakubai”, written and directed by Nadira Zaheer Babbar, Motley’s “Antigone”, directed by Dubey, Awishkar’s “Giribala”, directed by Chetan Datar, Aranya’s “Shakkar Ke Panch Daane”, written and directed by Manav Kaul, Ansh’s “Karodo Mein Ek”, written and directed by Makrand Deshpande and Aasakta’s “Tu”, directed by Mohit Takalkar.

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