Arya Babbar is not the only one turning 30 this year. A few months before he reaches the magic figure, his mother's theatre group, Ekjute, has reached the milestone, and Arya is over the moon. “Ekjute and I have grown up together. It’s responsible for several good things in my life and has given me the chance to write and direct. My career in cinema too has been immensely helped by the time I spent on stage,” he beams.
Starting today, the theatre group, which was started by Nadira Zaheer Babbar in 1981, will kickstart a two-week celebration at Prithvi Theatre, Juhu. The event will include plays, workshops, seminars, exhibitions and well-attended inauguration and closing ceremonies.
“It’ll be a huge party, and Prithvi will be decorated like never before,” says Arya. His sister Juhi Babbar Soni chimes in, “The inauguration will be an alumni meet of sorts. Everyone who has been part of Ekjute will be there. Many moved on to cinema and TV, but they are all indebted to the group.” Like Arya, Juhi too has fond memories of growing up around Ekjute’s rehearsal halls.
“When kids come back from school, they usually have small snacks and then head for tuitions. For us, we came straight to the theatre, because that’s where our mother was,” she laughs, adding, “The canteen’s samosa pav, which the entire cast and crew were eating, would be our snack. As for tuitions, we would get help from whichever actor could spare some time. I've had Kirron Kher help me with English essays and Alok Nath solve my maths problems.”
At the festival
25 shows of 17 popular productions by the group
Jashn Ki Raat on April 30, a fund raiser for theatre where eminent musicians like Sukhwinder Singh, Usha Uthup, Richa Sharma will perform
Daily platform performances encouraging colleges to participate
Workshops on art, craft, music etc
Seminars on theatre, poetry, literature by eminent personalities in the field
Display of paintings inspired by plays, created by noteworthy artists
Felicitation of senior backstage workers
Evening of Sufi poetry and prose by legendary artists
The festival will be held at Prithvi Theatre, Juhu starting today. Call 26149546 or log on to www.prithvitheatre.org