Tomorrow is the big day for the National School of Drama. It starts its mega jubilee celebrations with 76 plays over 17 days.
The whole thing will apparently cost a whopping Rs 2.25 crore. This bit of extravagance notwithstanding, there is something ailing this august institute. What is it?
Down memory lane
"India is 60 years old now and we are 50," says Anuradha Kapoor, director, NSD. She admits that NSD is the first body in India that visualised ‘professionalisation' of theatre as opposed to a mere hobby." It started as a pioneer but it has lost its sheen over the years." <b1>
The present lot of students and the alumni agree on this. Actor and filmmaker Anupam Kher, alumnus of 1978 batch and ex-chairperson, NSD says, "NSD prepared me and made me what I am today but it needs to modernise with the times. It's a unique institute with a fine campus and a great curriculum. But it lacks in terms of marketing."
What went wrong?
Theatre director and NSD alumnus, Bansi Kaul, believes that there is the need to upgrade. He argues, "It's still like what it used to be in 1973, which was probably borrowed from European system. We're an independent country now."
Today, when Bollywood is the ultimate destination, an NSD graduate finds himself/herself illequipped to work in this medium.
Savita, a final year student, says, "We're still not taught how to face the camera. Even our three-month long course with FTII, Pune, has been reduced to 15 days."
A 1993 graduate, Roysten Able, points out the lack of social relevance in the curriculum. He says, "NSD has to know where India stands against the world today. There should be an exchange of thoughts with the students to do away with dated syllabi."
The institute's current chairperson Amal Allana, who's also a student from 1968 batch, says, "During my time, we did a lot lesser things in more detail. We were just 20 actors at a time. Today, we have a family of about 200 people which includes the repertory company, TIE which is children's theatre, a publication division, a magazine section and many others."
Surely there is scope to accommodate and evolve?