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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

Vishnudas Bhave auditorium in Vashi to get ₹13-crore worth makeover

The project has been approved by the general body and it is now in tendering process.

mumbai Updated: May 17, 2018 01:12 IST
Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan
Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan
Hindustan Times
Vishnudas Bhave auditorium
Vishnudas Bhave auditorium (HT Photo)

After much delay, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has finally decided to renovate the Vishnudas Bhave auditorium in Vashi. The civic body has set aside an amount of ₹13 crore for the task.

At present, the Vishnudas Bhave auditorium is the only theatre space in whole of Navi Mumbai. Marathi plays, musical evenings and other commercial shows are held here in two different slots every evening. The auditorium is also used for different awareness programmes by the civic body, city police and other government and private agencies.

Over the past couple of years, the structure has faced extensive wear and tear and art lovers and local activists have long been demanding the renovation of the auditorium.

Ramaswamy N commissioner of NMMC said, “The project has been approved by the general body and it is now in tendering process. For addressing all issues of the premises we have allocated a budget of ₹13 crore. The work will be started soon.”

According to Arvind Shinde executive engineer of NMMC, the tendering process will take at least two more months. Thus, the actual renovation is likely to be started from July end.

“The renovation work will include new electrification and air-conditioning of the premises, minor repairing of the walls and the stage, painting of the whole premises, and replacement of the old chairs among others,” he said.

“Advanced lighting and sound systems will also be provided. We will also install new projectors for screening videos,” Shinde said.

He said that the task of renovation will take six to eight months and the building will be closed until then.

Another NMMC official said that there are plans of starting a new cafeteria inside the premises as well. However, senior officials did not confirm the same.

The civic body had actually planned to renovate the auditorium either in the second half of 2016 or early 2017. “There were delays in preparing the plan and presenting it before the general body. Thus the work could not be done at that time,” another senior officer said on condition of anonymity.

The two-storey building of Vishnudas Bhave auditorium was built for the city art-lovers in 1995. Due to absence of such a theatre space in the area, the residents of Kopar Khairane, Ghansoli, Airoli, Sanpada, Nerul, CBD Belapur come to watch the plays staged here. On weekends a huge number of people travel even travel from Kharghar, Kamothe, Kalamboli, etc.

“The auditorium has several issues like broken chairs and tiles, missing window panes, defunct lights, damaged walls among others. We had observed it while attending an event in April last year and also informed the local civic officials about it,” said Ashok Mane, 46, an activist from Vashi.

“The officials then told us that they already had a plan to renovate the auditorium and the work will start soon. But we have not seen any work despite more than a year going by. We hope the civic body will take the remedial measures very soon,” he added.

Vishal Sharma, 52, another activist said, “Since it is the only theatre space in Navi Mumbai, the NMMC should pay minute attention to it so that audiences and performers get all required facilities here. But we have seen apathy on their part over the past one-and-a-half decade.”

Lokesh Mane, 37, an actor who has performed at the auditorium multiple times said, “The audience normally wants a good ambience to watch a play or musical evening. Proper lighting and sound system, comfortable chairs, a tea or coffee stall are some of the basic things that an art lover may expect in a theatre.”

“The Vishnudas Bhave auditorium in Vashi initially had almost all these things. However, in due course some of the essential things such as lights and fans are getting defunct. If NMMC pays attention to this, it will still be one of the finest theatres in the Mumbai region,” he added.

First Published: May 17, 2018 01:12 IST

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