The 19th edition of Bharat Rang Mahotsav, Asia’s largest theatre festival, will not feature any performances from neighbouring Pakistan or China.
Of the 12 countries staging 14 of the total 94 performances, the audiences will not get to see any plays from Pakistan or China, organisers from the National School of Drama said.
Downplaying the absence of Pakistani artistes this year, NSD director Waman Kendre said, “They (artistes) had sent applications but the committee might not have selected them. Quality is the only criteria we keep in mind and they might not have matched it.”
He also said that a record-breaking number of applications were sent in to the Expert Committee from all over the world, including 602 applications from India.
On China’s absence, NSD professor Suresh Bharadwaj said that scheduling issues prevented performers from attending the festival.
Of two Israeli plays that were scheduled, one has been cancelled as the artistes faced problems regarding tickets, bringing the total number of foreign plays to 14.
The 21-day festival to begin on February 1 is centered around the theme ‘Whose Theatre is it Anyway’.
The schedule includes performances by artists from England, Russia, Italy, Israel, Turkey, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Romania, Malasiya, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh, as well as folk artists from around India.