We’ve no place for rehearsals: Child artiste to Thane civic body

8-yr-old actor requests TMC to speed up repair work at Kashinath Ghanekar theatre, located in Thane .

mumbai Updated: Feb 11, 2018 00:55 IST
Megha Pol
Megha Pol
Hindustan Times
Thane,Mumbai,Crime Patrol
Kashinath Ghanekar Natyagruha at Ghodbunder Road is in a pathetic condition. (HT)

Eight-year-old actor, Atharva Vagal has been running from pillar to post requesting the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) to start repairing the mini theatre at Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar Natyagruha.

The repair work for the mini theatre, which was shut down by the TMC on October 1, 2017, has still not begun. The roof of the mini theatre is leaking, the acoustics needs repair and the false ceiling also has to be renovated. Atharva, who has worked in many well-known shows like Crime Patrol, Savdhan India, Aahat and movies like Chalk and Duster, said he and his fellow child artists have nowhere to practice since the closure of the theatre.

Atharva, a class 3 student of Smt Sulochanadevi Singhania School, and his friends, usually rehearse at the theatre. On Friday, Atharva met Thane mayor Meenakshi Shinde and cultural minister Vinod Tawade requesting them to speed up the work of the theatre.

“Many drama schools, play groups and other cultural organization use this mini theatre for rehearsals. This is the only mini theatre in Thane and is a boon to child artists who get a stage to perform. The corporation has not even begun the repair work in the past five months,” said Atharva.

The actor asked the mayor to intervene and issue directives to speed up the work. Atharva’s mother, Anushka Vagal, a fashion designer, said, “The Gadkari Theatre is small. This (Natagruha) is the only one with multiple stages for rehearsals. Although we had approached the corporation, they did not tell us when the work will start and end.”

Sandeep Malvi, deputy municipal commissioner, TMC, said, “The file is still in tendering process and these things take time. We will start the work as soon as possible.”

A civic officer, requesting anonymity said, “We estimated the repair work will cost up to Rs79 lakh and the file is with the accounts department for approval. In the meantime, we have begun the tendering process and plan to start the work by the month-end. The work will take two months to complete after it begins. We plan to open the mini theatre before monsoon.”

All about the theatre

Dr Kashinath Ghanekar Natyagruha is a state-of-the-art theatre at par with international standards. The main theatre has a capacity of 1,200 seats and there is a mini theatre with a capacity of 250 to 400 seats. There are also two conference rooms in the theatre. The building also has a conventional centre, parking plaza and an amphitheatre. It has modern sound and light techniques, adequate surveillance facility and comfortable seating for the audiences.

Ceiling of balcony collapsed on April 25, 2016

A major portion of the false ceiling of the theatre’s balcony collapsed on April 25, 2016, barely minutes after an event organized by a local politician had ended, thus averting a major tragedy. Over 200 people were seated in the balcony for the event. No one was hurt as the balcony was vacant.

TMC closes the theatre after ceiling collapse

The main theatre was closed for over one-and-a-half years after the collapse of the ceiling. Although the TMC promised to start the work within 20 days of the incident, the work started only in December 2016. The work went on for almost eight months and the theatre was opened for the public in August 2017. The mini theatre was shut down by the TMC in October 2017 for repair work.

First Published: Feb 11, 2018 00:48 IST