Bharat Rang Mahotsav: a close look at NSD fest | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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Bharat Rang Mahotsav: a close look at NSD fest

When one of the country’s biggest theatre fests is in town, there’s as much drama backstage, as there is on stage. Here’s an exclusive peep into this private world.

art and culture Updated: Jan 16, 2013 01:15 IST
Sahil Magoo

A green room, they’ve always said, is a madhouse, with many running agog, rushing to dress or rubbing on some more makeup. My first green room trip was thus, quite surprising. On entering the Sammukh auditorium in National School of Drama, where the Bharat Rang Mahotsav is on, I saw two actors getting ready for their performance patiently.

On asking about the rest of the crew, I was informed that the play — A True Calling — is about these two actors who have directed the play and will be performing multiple roles on stage. One of the two actors, Chongtham Jayanta, told us that the play is about acting, just as life itself is. “What we do on stage is not different from what we do in real life; we play different roles in real life, be that of a brother or a lover, but that role playing is never called pretending, whereas on stage, it is called pretending,” he said.

The actor then paused, put on another stroke of makeup, and resumed. “In the play, the two actors communicate by speaking in two different languages – Manipuri and Chinese, raising the important question: is role playing on stage pretending?”

The Kashmir story
Watching the rehearsals of Aalav – a Kashmiri adaptation of John Millingdon Synge’s Riders to the Sea, one could see what goes behind delivering a dialogue in its true sense. “It portrays the reality of Kashmir, a paradise for tourists, but hell for those who live there. The actors are bringing on stage what they observe daily,” said Arshad Mushtaq, director of the play. Mushtaq couldn’t hold back his emotions after the recent Indo-Pak border tension. “In my play, Kashmir depicts the storm that’s killing people every day,” he added, before he was interrupted by a technician to check on the sound and English subtitles that were to accompany the act.

Meet the pranksters
In this one, as a bunch of chirpy young male and female actors rehearsed their act — 9 Days Newspaper — I played my part of the invisible observer. Even as some of the girls rehearsed their dialogues seriously in the green room, others cracked jokes to ease the pressure before the final performance. One of the actors seemed confident as he was rehearsing his dialogues in front of the mirror, speaking them out loud. Closeby, there was a prank being played in the girls’ room. One of the girls was locked inside by her friends and they were all laughing outside. I was obviously not allowed in. Still, others were practising their dance moves, and some were humming the song — Pal pal dil ke paas. As they proceeded to the last minute adjustments, the actors reminded the costume in-charge about the props needed for better effect.

Drama Days
What: 15th Bharat Rang Mahotsav
Plays today: What Craziness! Why you behave this way, Inspired by Blindness, King Lear
On till: January 20
Timing: 4.30pm onwards
For schedule, tickets:
Venues: Shri Ram Centre, LTG Auditorium, Kamani Auditorium, National School of Drama
NEAREST METRO STATION: Mandi House on the Blue Line