The drama societies in the different colleges of DU are known for igniting an undying love for theater. Every student who thrives on the exhilarating feeling of being on stage, finds a perfect platform in these spaces. From Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachhan and Shah Rukh Khan to filmmakers Satish Kaushik to Imtiaz Ali, there is a long list of alumni who can be an inspiration for DU freshers.
Here’s a list of some of the drama societies in DU:
1) Shunya, Ramjas College
A training ground for actors such as Manoj Bajpayee and Shekhar Suman, the drama society of Ramjas College - Shunya, was formed in 1994. “Shunya doesn’t believe in counting the number of hours dedicated to practice. We practice with the sole aim of attaining perfection,” says Shobhit Bhatia, a member of the society.
This society is known to create plays which revolve around political and social themes. Its production Deluxe Hair Cutting Saloon, hailed as one of the best last year, and also walked away with quite a few awards. Its other plays such as A seaside Story and Kaachu, were also widely appreciated. “In our society, of about 40 people, every member is considered a valuable resource. Our strength is our strong sense of equality,” says Dewang Mulani, another member of Shunya.
2) Dramatics Society, Hansraj College
The Dramatics Society of Hansraj College is famous for setting the stage for Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan.
“We take great pride in representing our college,” says Sahiba Bali, president of the Dramatics Society of Hansraj College. She explains why they haven’t christened the society with a-specific name, “We ensured that we include the name of our college in the society’s name.”
This society receives about 400 applications every year, and needless to say, it makes the selection process extremely rigorous. In order to become a member of the society, one has to clear a three-day long audition process which tests the stage presence, spontaneity, voice modulation and body language of the applicant.
“Dramatics is an art which harbours revolutionary potential. We choose not to reduce our performances to the purpose of mere competition,” adds Bali.
3) Dramatics Society, Lady Shri Ram College for Women
The Dramatics Society of Lady Shri Ram College for Women has gifted a number of seasoned actors to the world of Indian theatre and television including Lillette Dubey, Sandhya Mridul and Sakshi Tanwar. “LSR Dramatics Society believes in discussions and debates. Our productions are a result of critical thinking and a lot of research,” says S Vaishnavi, president, Dramatics Society, LSR.
She says that the members of the society consider themselves as a family, who are bound together by mutual love for dramatics. “Our critical thinking finds its reflection in our productions. We practice for a minimum of 4 to 5 hours daily,” adds Vaishnavi.
Their production Sun! Tu Rehene De, which dealt with the question of normalisation of patriarchy in the Indian society, was the centre of admiration in the dramatics circuit previous session.
4) Lakshya, Kamala Nehru College
With just 16 members, Lakshya is a close-knit society which believes that drama is a revolutionary art form. “Lakshya’s sole motive is to bring about a change in the society through the medium of theatre,” Dilgrace Kaur, vice president, Lakshya.
The revolutionary characteristic of this society sets it apart from others. It’s audition process has various parameters through which an applicant is judged,including confidence, acting ability, creative thinking, experience in theatre and voice clarity.
“Lakshya is not just a society, but a collaboration of women who build each other, through their passion for theatre,” adds Kaur. Their annual street production last year – Justice Abhi, Far Hai – received critical acclaim for the strong message it delivered.
5) Ankur, Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College
Warm and welcoming to the freshers, Ankur prides itself in creating an environment which is conducive enough to make the newbies shed their inhibitions and enjoy theater. The audition process for the society includes a friendly interaction whereby the acting acumen of the applicants is gauged through a number of theatre exercises. The applicants are also required to prepare a piece of their choice to perform in front of the audition board. For the members of Ankur, the number of hours dedicated to practice is just a figure.
“We believe in bringing about a change at any and every level possible. In order to put across our messages, we package our complex research in a simple yet interesting manner. Our dedication towards achieving our aim of affecting societal change is what makes us different from other dramatics societies.” says Bani Simar, a member of Ankur.
Their annual production ‘Gulzar Gali’ was appreciated by many renowned dignitaries including the professors of National School of Drama as well as the members of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. The annual street production of the society was showcased in JNU on national street theatre day, organized by Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust.
6) Ibtida, Hindu College
Hindu College is now increasingly becoming synonymous to the achievements of Ibtida, the dramatics society. With a rigorous three day long audition process, only the best make it to the society. Ibtida was founded by Imtiaz Ali in his student days at Hindu College, and has proved to be the launch pad for his exciting career in Bollywood. Ali directed a number of plays and performed on stage, as a part of this society.
Ibtida has accumulated an impressive number of accolades in the past year in the various competitions and fests organized in DU, and performed in nine districts of Rajasthan in collaboration with the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.
“Our Theatre Fest, Medina is one of a kind, and that’s what makes Ibtida so distinct from the rest of the societies in Delhi University” says Ankrish Khanna, the President of Ibtida.
7) The Players, Kirori Mal College
This dramatics society has proved to be the launch pad to a number of talents of Bollywood, including Vijay Raaz.
“Our practice sessions begin during our summer vacations itself,” says Vishwas Dhingra, secretary of the society. They have often been appreciated for their performances at the Old World Theatre Festival and the Delhi Police’s Meet on Women’s Safety.
“We are known for selection of our scripts,” says Dhingra , adding, “Our script-reading sessions are often followed by analytical discussions. We always try to perform an adaptation of a particular script, so that it remains relevant to the local audiences.”
What they believe in, is “experiment and never settle for the conventional.” Probably this makes them one of the best!