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Frightful stage

It only takes an unseasonable drizzle to throw a spanner in the works of the best students’ theatre group in Delhi University, reports Ritika Chopra.

delhi Updated: Feb 12, 2009 00:50 IST
Ritika Chopra
Ritika Chopra
Hindustan Times

It only takes an unseasonable drizzle to throw a spanner in the works of the best students’ theatre group in Delhi University.

But, The Players — dramatics society of Kirori Mal College (KMC) founded by the late Professor Frank Thakurdas — cannot do much unless the college administration renovates the auditorium’s leaking ceiling.

Till then, the students will have to spend a good chunk of their time conceiving of temporary solutions for the leakage and fixing the consequent damage caused by it.

So much for the 50-year-old society that has produced some of the prominent names of the entertainment industry.

Actors Amitabh Bachchan and Kulbhushan Kharbanda and director Satish Kaushik are among them.

“We have to dispose of most of our props each year, as they start rotting because of seepage. The problem is so bad that ankle-deep water collects in the auditorium when it rains heavily. We have even had to cancel or postpone a few of our performances in the past because of unexpected weather conditions. Once, we were forced to improvise because it started to rain in the course of the performance. The audience thankfully stayed on even while they were getting wet,” said Anjuman Sahin, a student of the college and member of The Players.

The pitiable state of the college auditorium along with a few other “ignored” demands have led two students of KMC to go on a 48-hour hunger strike starting Wednesday.

“There is no toilet for the female students in the science block. The girls’ hostel has not come up yet. The university ordinance makes the student-faculty committee for each department a must, but most academic streams here lack one. We want the principal to give us a time-bound assurance for our demands,” said M Sirajuddeen, General Secretary of the KMC students’ union, who is one of the two students on hunger strike.

Tagging these students as troublemakers, Principal Bhim Sen Singh has refused to negotiate with those on strike. “These are just a handful of students trying to create trouble. Our college has started work on the infrastructure but nothing can come up over night. As far as the college auditorium is concerned, we have a budget of Rs 2 crore ready for it and the work will start within one month,” he said.

Despite not having a basic facility at its disposal, the society went on to win 35 prizes at 32 competitions in the year 2008-09. Currently, the 38 members of the society have their fingers crossed for their last and grandest performance for the current academic year, on February 14. Hopefully, the rain gods will not play spoilsport this time.

First Published: Feb 12, 2009 00:46 IST