It's fest season in Delhi University (DU) and various cultural societies are busy hopping across colleges to showcase their acts. Though these societies have multiplied over the years, some boast of celebrity connections, especially the theatre societies. Incidentally, many big names in Bollywood and theatre trace their lineage to these societies.
The dramatics society, IBTIDA, of Hindu college owes its creation to filmmaker Imtiaz Ali, who has directed movies such as Jab We Met and Rockstar. “When I joined Hindu College, there was no dramatics society. I wanted to do a play with my friends, called, Jaati Hi Poocho Saadhu Ki. So, all of us got together at the Jai Singh Lawns and formed IBTIDA,” says Ali.
“We mostly did stage plays like Holi, which was conceptualised when I was in the first year. I mostly directed plays, but I also acted in some of them. I keep in touch with students of Hindu College, who are a part of IBTIDA. They are doing well and are going the street theatre way,” he adds.
One of the most popular theatre societies of DU is Players of Kirori Mal College. Some of its former members include actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and filmmaker Satish Kaushik. “For me, Players was an institute that made me both an actor and director. It has to be one of the most active theatre societies in Delhi University. We were trained under Prof. Frank Thakur Das and he was the one that ensured that theatre became my passion. My first appearance was in the play - Mr. Abhimanyu. We also did a play called Kooday Ka Peepa at the BITS Pilani festival,” says Kaushik.
Actor Lillette Dubey and theatre artist Lushin Dubey were both members of the theatre society in their college - Lady Shri Ram College. “We did lots of classics and plays of Shakespeare at the LSR Theatre Society. Some of the plays I remember being part of included - As You Like It, Macbeth, and Helen of Troy. Barry John often directed us,” says Lillette.
Celebrities and their theatre history
Imtiaz Ali founded the Dramatics society, IBTIDA, of Hindu College. He still takes active interest in making the society better
Actor Konkona Sen Sharma was a member of Shakespeare Society at St. Stephen’s College, popularly known as Shakesoc
Shah Rukh Khan was a member of the dramatics society of Hansraj College. He also was a part of Barry John’s theatre group
Actor Nandita Das was also active in theatre and started her acting career with the Jana Natya Manch theatre group
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