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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Final curtains come down on Rang Bhavan

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 11, 2013
First Published: 09:26 IST(11/7/2013) | Last Updated: 09:35 IST(11/7/2013)

The traditional venue for Independence Day rock concert, Jazz Yatra and tamashas and lavani shows, Rang Bhavan, the iconic open theatre at Dhobi Talao in south Mumbai, is set to become part of the city’s history as Maharashtra cabinet on Wednesday decided to construct a Marathi language, research, development and cultural centre in its place.

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The amphi theatre has been lying unused since 2003 when the high court refused to exempt it from silence zone restrictions.

Music lovers and organisers of the rock and jazz shows had moved the Supreme Court for exemption and had even tried to use technology that would enable them to hold such programmes without violating the norms set for the silence zone, but with little success.

The Maharashtra government, which owns the 2,439-sqft plot, has now decided to convert the venue into Marathi Bhasha Research, Development and Cultural Centre.

The fourstorey centre will have a 476 seater auditorium on the ground floor and a 198-seater auditorium on the fourth.

The centre will also have offices of the state language directorate, Marathi Vikas Sanstha, Sahitya Sanskriti Mandal and Marathi Vishvakosh Mandal.

The government has decided to fund the Rs80- crore revamp project over the next three years.

The centre will also accommodate the offices of the Sindhi, Urdu and Gujarati academies, which work towards the conservation of these languages.

The 55-year-old open theatre was closed after the high court banned the use of loudspeakers at the venue as it falls in a silence zone — an area within 100 meters of either a hospital, court, religious structure or an educational institution.

Rang Bhavan is flanked by Gokuldas Tejpal hospital on one side, and St Xavier’s College on the other.

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