Former mayor clarifies that new Balgandharva Rangmandir need of the hour

Mohol had announced the project in 2018 while he was part of the standing committee but had met with fierce opposition from theatre actors and producers
The news that Balgandharva Rangmandir will soon be demolished has created ripples among theatre lovers, actors and people in general but Murlidhar Mohol assured the media that there will be no commercial establishments coming up in the area and that the new auditorium will also still be called Balgandharva Rangmandir . (Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)
The news that Balgandharva Rangmandir will soon be demolished has created ripples among theatre lovers, actors and people in general but Murlidhar Mohol assured the media that there will be no commercial establishments coming up in the area and that the new auditorium will also still be called Balgandharva Rangmandir . (Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)
Published on May 14, 2022 12:29 AM IST
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ByPrachi Bari

With rumours and allegations flying around ever since the draft of the new Balgandharva Rangmandir was announced, former mayor Murlidhar Mohol made his intentions clear before the media by calling it a genuine need for a better auditorium in the city.

Mohol had announced the project in 2018 while he was part of the standing committee but had met with fierce opposition from theatre actors and producers to the extent an opposition rally was held right at Balgandharva Rangmandir calling it a heritage and tradition passed down for generations by noted playwright PL Deshpande.

Calling a press conference on the same premises, Mohol clarified, “Fifty-four years ago, PL Deshpande, too, faced the same opposition when he planned this iconic Balgandharva Rangmandir . Now it is the need of the hour to have a better auditorium which fulfils all the needs of theatre today. There is no catch in this proposal nor is it political.”

The news that Balgandharva Rangmandir will soon be demolished has created ripples among theatre lovers, actors and people in general but Mohol assured the media that there will be no commercial establishments coming up in the area and that the new auditorium will also still be called Balgandharva Rangmandir .

Citing the architect’s impression which was shown to deputy chief minister and guardian minister, Ajit Pawar, by commissioner Vikram Kumar in a presentation, Mohol said, “When the guardian minister saw the architect’s drawings, it was his thought to increase the number of seats in the main auditorium which initially was going to seat 800 to 1,000 persons. The proposed design of the new auditorium has 1,600-capacity seating, with three auditoriums of 800, 500 and 300 seating capacity, two art galleries, and ample parking for 800 two-wheelers and 250 cars. This iconic structure is spread over 22,000 square feet and now it will be spread over 3.5 lakh square feet which must be utilised to the fullest to help everyone’s needs.”

He added that the current intake for Balgandharva Rangmandir is 1,200 slots for plays and other programmes. Still, it is difficult to accommodate everyone and everyone wants to perform at Bal Gandharva for it is iconic and prestigious.

The PMC has proposed that the new design will be implemented and ready within two-and-a-half years at an estimated cost of Rs75 crore, with additional charges for interiors when required. The committee of theatre persons, PMC officials, architects and building experts was formed in 2018, which includes Prashant Damle, Subodh Bhave, Virendra Chitrav and others.

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