In its sixth edition, Jashn-E-Rang, Kolkata’s only Hindi theatre festival, focuses on love and relationship. The six-day-long festival, organised by city-based theatre group Little Thespian, starts on November 12 at Gyan Manch. This year, apart from Kolkata, there are plays from states like Delhi, Jharkhand, Mumbai, Bikaner and Patna. Veteran theatre personality Padma Shri and Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee Ram Gopal Bajaj will be the chief guest of the festival.
“People look forward to our festival so we can’t afford to disappoint them,” smiles Uma Jhunjhunwala, actor-director-writer and one of the founders of Little Thespian, before adding, “Like last few years, this time too we have chosen an interesting bouquet of 10 plays that will definitely connect with the audience.”
Ram Gopal Bajaj, along with Sultan Ahmed (Member of Parliament); Om Prakash Bharti (director, Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre); Kusum Khemani (president, Bhartiya Bhasha Parishad); Sanjay Upadhyay (director, Madhya Pradesh School of Drama); Kamal Ahmed (Urdu playwright) among others will inaugurate the ceremony. Sanjay Upadhyay’s Kahan Gaye Mere Ugna, from Nirman Kala Manch, Patna, will be the inaugural play.
The remaining dramas include Dulari Bai, directed Sudhesh Vyas (Anurag Kala Kendra, Bikaner), Prem A Prem, directed by Uma Jhunjhunwala, May be this Summer, directed by Tripurari Sharma (UA Studio, Delhi), Qissa Khwani, directed by Dinesh Vadera and Dilip Dave (Kolkata), Tikaton ka Sangrah, directed by Dinkar Sharma (Jharkhand), Welcome Zindagi, directed by Suresh Bhardwaj (AKS, Delhi), Qissa Khwani, directed by Jyotish Joshi and Uma J (Delhi) and Kaga Sab Tan Khaiyo (Shafi Jawed), directed by Jitendra Singh and Mamta Pandey.
Mushtaq Kak’s Balkan Ki Aurtein, which he had directed for Little Thespian, will end the festival.
“While most of them are recent plays, Kahan Gaye Mere Ugna is an old but very popular production. It’s a musical that even the children will enjoy. Dulari Bai, a Rajasthani folk drama, will also entertain them. Dinkar Sharma’s solo performance Tikaton ka Sangrah will also be an interesting watch,” says Uma.
Along with these plays, there will be An Adda on Theatre with Ram Gopal Bajaj on November 13. It will highlight the current condition of Hindi theatre and what should be done for its betterment. On November 14, Bajaj and Azhar Alam (one of the founders of Little Thespian) will recite poems and literary pieces.
“Through Jashn-E-Rang we (Uma and Azhar) aim at promoting Hindi and Urdu theatre in Kolkata. The city has a rich history of Hindi and Urdu theatre that dates back to 1905 and had been nurtured by stalwarts like Bhartendu Harishchandra, Balkrishna Bhatt and Pt. Madhav Shukla. But at the moment there is no Hindi and Urdu theatre festival in the city except Jashn-E-Rang. Kolkata has an educated audience who understands theatre well. We want them to watch more and more Hindi and Urdu plays. That’s why we come up with something new and interesting every time,” Uma wraps up.