Lite Blogs Theatre

Amal Allana Pens Biography of Ebrahim Alkazi, Theatre Legend

Not much is known about Alkazi’s Arab lineage, but the daughter constructs it in the book by interviewing her father’s immediate siblings, the father himself, and discovering some recent material from a few academics on the Arab merchant families who had settled in India, mainly in Bombay…writes Sukant Deepak

As his daughter, he treated her with the utmost care and was loving and protective. As a student, he was a hard, even harsh, taskmaster and pushed her to give her very best. But when she designed costumes for some of his productions, he treated her as a professional and gave her complete freedom to express her creative ideas.

Former Chairperson of the National School of Drama (NSD) Amal Allana, who recently wrote ‘Ebrahim Alkazi: Holding Time Captive’ (Penguin), told that in all these associations, her relationship with the father of modern Indian theatre altered, thus giving her an insight into different aspects of his character, personality, and sense of aesthetics.

Alkazi was not just the founding director of NSD but also someone who lent new metaphors to Indian theatre and metamorphosed it through his unique vision, as through his production of Girish Karnad’s ‘Tughlaq’ at Delhi’s Purana Qila in 1972, which is considered to be one of the finest theatre productions till date, and trained a generation of theatre persons who have been instrumental in breaking new grounds in every sense of the word.

Allana said that in writing this biography, she has had the opportunity to study her father’s life and work in greater detail, albeit more dispassionately.

“Also, yet another aspect of my research included studying his artworks, leading me to curate several projects on him,” she said. “Working on these projects has helped me clarify and gain a fuller, overall perspective of what he aspired for and set out to achieve throughout his life.”

One wonders if the daughter was under any ‘pressure’, considering she was writing about such a towering personality. She confessed that unconsciously she may have felt the pressure, though her father allowed her the greatest freedom to find herself as a theatre artiste.

“Once I left NSD, he never offered any criticism of my work but was supportive of it from a distance. It was my mother, on the other hand, who took a great deal of interest in where I was heading creatively and would ask me about my work. I think my father’s attitude of a certain distance helped me to grow and develop independently,” Allana said.

Not much is known about Alkazi’s Arab lineage, but the daughter constructs it in the book by interviewing her father’s immediate siblings, the father himself, and discovering some recent material from a few academics on the Arab merchant families who had settled in India, mainly in Bombay.

“Several of my first cousins were born in Bombay and left for other countries by the late 1950s and early 1960s, staying back for a full decade after Hamed and Mariam Alkazi, my paternal grandparents, along with some of their children, had left Bombay post-Partition,” Allana recalled.

“My cousins and I went to the same school in Bombay — Cathedral. I grew up with them and around them and experienced how the Arabs lived in India, which was very unlike the way my parents lived. We lived as western-educated Bombayites and artists!” she added with a smile.

Remembering that theatre was not just a profession for Alkazi but an indispensable part of his being, Allana said: “Even at home, practical aspects of mounting productions, as well as the deeper meaning of plays and rehearsals were part and parcel of the air we breathed. As you know, our home at Vithal Court also doubled up as my father’s workspace.”

Many of his students describe Alkazi as a strict disciplinarian, but Allana remembers him as someone very kind, loving, and generous as a father. “Art was incorporated into our daily lives in a simple, organic way, becoming an enjoyable activity in which we all participated,” she recalled.

Stressing that he had a positive attitude to life and was always very optimistic, who believed that great things could be achieved in simple ways, Allana pointed out that for Alkazi it was all about hard work, focus and discipline. She also says that he had a great sense of humour and was brilliant at communicating deep, complex thoughts in an effective simple way.

Someone who has devoted her life to theatre, she feels that not only does the country need more theatre schools, but also professional theatre companies in all the languages, so that trained students can be employed.

“Well, we all know, most NSD graduates tend to gravitate to Mumbai and get absorbed in the film industry,” Allana said. “Others return to their home states and struggle to do theatre in mostly abject conditions. Surely, nearly 80 years after Independence we should have understood that the performing arts need to be subsidised in major ways.”

Stressing the importance of introducing art appreciation courses in schools, Allana said that art widens our horizons and helps us build a sensitivity towards other cultures.

Allana was quick to add, though: “Remember, appreciation is not enough … art needs to be practised. Subjects like dance, music and painting are not given the attention they deserve in any school curriculum. They are treated as peripheral subjects. We should understand that talent and skill for the arts come naturally to us Indians.”

She concluded with a timely reminder: “There are few countries such as India with our rich traditions in painting, architecture, sculpture, dance, and folk performing traditions. A majority of Indians are artistically inclined; it is in our genes. We should have special schools devoted to the arts of India, which will allow children to create and fashion art from a young age so that these traditions do not die out.”

ALSO READ-‘Theatre Enriches an Actor’s Soul’

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‘Theatre Enriches an Actor’s Soul’

Talking about the medium of theatre nurturing an actor, he said that the theatre arms up an actor with an acute sense of emotions, the logistics given the backstage work that every junior actor does, and the spontaneity…says Pratik Gandhi

Actor Pratik Gandhi has been deeply connected to the medium of theatre from a young age.

The actor has been a part of Gujarati theatre for the longest time and still continues to work in theatre. While he has seen monumental success with his work on the silver screen and OTT, he feels that theatre is one medium that enriches the soul of an actor.

The actor, who is currently receiving a lot of positive response to his work in the streaming movie ‘Dedh Bigha Zameen’, spoke with IANS about the craft of acting, his first love as an actor — theatre, and the language of his film.

Talking about the medium of theatre nurturing an actor, he said that the theatre arms up an actor with an acute sense of emotions, the logistics given the backstage work that every junior actor does, and the spontaneity.

He told IANS, “For an actor, they get everything from theatre. Theatre enriches the soul of an artiste, solidifies their craft and makes them spontaneous because there’s no retake on stage. Theatre is like a root, it not just keeps you grounded but also helps you to derive the nutrients to nourish your soul.”

As he climbs up the ladder of success with years of his hard work paying off, the Maslow’s hierarchy surely kicks in. Pratik wants to lead the change for theatre as he reaches the top of Maslow’s pyramid.

Pratik said that he wants the perception of theatre being a poor medium to be changed, poor not simply in terms of money but its overall perception.

He told , “I really want the perception of theatre being a not so affluent medium of exhibition to be changed. Theatre sabse ameer medium hona chaahiye (theatre should be the most affluent medium). If people are willing to pay Rs 500 for a film then they should be willing to pay Rs 1,500 for a theatre play. I feel with technological evolution reaching mind-boggling heights and information travelling at lightning speed from one part of the planet to the other, a live experience like theatre will become more exclusive.”

He then quoted an example of Covid-19 which made human touch a luxury.

He said, “During the Covid-19 pandemic, we had everything accessible, food and grocery delivery on fingertips, video calls and messages sorted for communication but, what we craved for was the human touch. Many places started the pets hugging club. Human touch is fast becoming a luxury. So, I think theatre will see a lot of changes over the period of time, and I wish to be a part of this change as a ‘give back’ to the medium.”

When asked about the particular style of speaking Hindi in ‘Dedh Bigha Zameen’, the actor shared the trick that his dialect coach told him about.

The actor said, “The kind of Hindi that has been used in ‘Dedh Bigha Zameen’ has a very melodious texture. I have many actor friends in Mumbai in cinema or in theatre who follow this style of speaking in Hindi. Even the director of the film, Pulkit speaks with the same style. So the ground was already set for me. We also had a dialect coach who told me a trick. He said that I should highlight ‘H’ in the words to set the metre and rhythm for the speech pattern.”

ALSO READ-Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry’s Journey in Theatre

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Love and Information – A Theatrical Exploration of Modern Life

The play doesn’t limit itself to its technical uniqueness but also promises to challenge the audience by addressing a wide range of subjects covered from mental illness to privacy erosion to memory atrophy that cloud modern-day lifestyles…reports Asian Lite News

The National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai present the first-ever professional production of Love and Information, in collaboration with an award-winning director Mohit Takalkar. Written in 2012 by celebrated British playwright Caryl Churchill, Love & Information is a creative and experimental presentation that delves into the contemporary lives of the present society through an unconventional yet immersive theatrical experience.

The play is set to invite the audience to the Experimental Theatre from April 25 – 29.

Written as a series of over 50 disparate scenes divided into seven sections, the play is an exercise in reimagining the medium. The disruptive format of the script provides no stage directions, no character attributions and no notes for performance. Additionally, the play follows a non-linear narrative and is devoid of central characters, emphasizing the cumulative impact of diverse, brief scenes ranging from seconds to minutes. The scenes are of varying lengths and the structure allows for the viewer to narrow in on a world oversaturated with information. The vignettes mirror the rapid pace of channel-hopping or scrolling through social media, highlighting potential implications for relationships in an era dominated by instant gratification and short attention spans.

The play doesn’t limit itself to its technical uniqueness but also promises to challenge the audience by addressing a wide range of subjects covered from mental illness to privacy erosion to memory atrophy that cloud modern-day lifestyles.

Speaking about the first-ever professional production of Love and Information, Bruce Guthrie, Head, of Theatre and Films, NCPA, expressed, “The NCPA is delighted to welcome Mohit Takalkar to direct Love & Information by Carol Churchill. She is a true trailblazing playwright in every sense of the word and is known as something of a disruptor of English theatre. She rarely, if ever, talks about her work, where the inspiration comes from and why she does what she does. She constantly reinvents her style as a playwright and explores what more theatre can be. It is a matter of pride and joy to pull off this combination of two extraordinary artistes – writer and director to realise this quite extraordinary play. We hope that the audience will come with a curious mind and an open heart as we continue to create theatre that challenges and inspires.”

The ensemble cast comprises Ashish Mehta, Dusha Madhav, Kashish Saluja, Lovleen Misra, Mahesh Saini, Mallika Singh Hanspal, Mrinmayee Godbole, Prajesh Kashyap, Rachel D’souza, Rytasha Rathore, Siddhesh Dhuri, who will be performing around 50 scenes in rotation. Love and Information most definitely promises to be a must-attend theatrical show this summer.

ALSO READ-Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry’s Journey in Theatre

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Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry’s Journey in Theatre

While the proverbial glass ceiling was broken by women like Norah Richards, Sheila Bhatia and Shanta Gandhi, Chowdhry observes that the ones ‘created’ by men were the women’s versions of how men looked at the gender…writes Sukant Deepak

She remembers the time when women were only actors, and never in the decision-making machinery like the director’s chair. She smiles that she had no expectations from herself, neither the theatre world from her.

Theatre director Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry, recipient of the Padma Shri and Sangeet Natak Akademi honours, who studied at the National School of Drama (NSD) under the legendary Ebrahim Alkazi, recalls, “One started working, slowly and built up her skill set. As women directors, we had a unique space to us, considering we had nothing to lose as no one expected anything. We could break all norms, approach the play in different ways, and experiment as much as we wanted to.”

She recalls that while there were few women directors initially, a certain silent revolution happened and directors like Anuradha Kapur, Maya Krishna Rao, Usha Ganguli, Anamika Haksar, Kirti Jain and Tripurari Sharma emerged.

“And all of us worked in our own spaces and unique styles. A new language started emerging. Of course, we had a familiar family of ideas.”

While the proverbial glass ceiling was broken by women like Norah Richards, Sheila Bhatia and Shanta Gandhi, Chowdhry observes that the ones ‘created’ by men were the women’s versions of how men looked at the gender.

“While Sheila Bhatia and Vijaya Mehta did excellent work, however, they could not break the structures that had long been embedded,” points this Professor Emeritus at Punjab University, whose well-known plays include ‘Kitchen Katha’, ‘The Suit’, ‘Yerma’, ‘Nagamandala’, ‘The Mad Woman of Chaillot’, ‘Little Eyolf’, ‘Bitter Fruit’, ‘Naked Voices’, ‘Stree Patra’, ‘Gumm Hai’ and ‘Black Box’

In fact, Chowdhry’s latest ‘Hayavadana’, written by late Girish Karnad will be staged during the upcoming META in the national capital. It is after almost more than a decade that she is working with a bound script.

The director, known for her devised productions who has staged the same playwright’s ‘Nagmandala’ thrice has made certain changes in ‘Hayavadana’.

“In the end, the woman asks whose pyre would I commit sati after both the men die. I could not relate to this in 1973, how do you expect me to in 2024? And I am sure Karnad would have welcomed the change. Also, I wanted to make the play more playful. We have such a set image of Padmini and Devdutt. It was important to break that and look at the characters with a fresh perspective. I wanted to animate them, pull them into the now.”

Stressing that the reason she prefers devised productions — not work with a text within a definite structure — beginning, middle, and end — is because she had done enough of that and likes to explore newer realms by pulling texts, images and experiences from various sources.

“This way one reads more from a story. Bringing contradictory elements together helps to imagine newer realities and meanings. Of course, it is always a struggle and not just an adventure. But then art is always hard.”

ALSO READ-Aarambh Mumbai’s Fabulous 15th Year of Theatre Excellence

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Aarambh Mumbai’s Fabulous 15th Year of Theatre Excellence

Leading the charge in this Hindi original writing revolution is none other than the powerhouse duo, Purva Naresh and Asmit Pathare…reports Asian Lite News

A festival bursting at the seams with their absolute best plays, sprinkled with masterclasses tailor-made for aspiring artists, and topped off with fringe and platform performances that will leave you wanting more! Get ready to dive into the vibrant world of Aarambh Mumbai as they enter their fabulous 15th year. This extravaganza is called Rang-Manch ka Rang-Punch and it’s all happening from the 12th to the 17th of March at none other than the iconic Prithvi Theatre.

Leading the charge in this Hindi original writing revolution is none other than the powerhouse duo, Purva Naresh and Asmit Pathare.

Purva, the maestro behind some of Aarambh’s most captivating tales, beams with pride as she declares, “Our mission is simple yet profound: to bring stories not just from the bustling metropolises but also from the very heart and soul of India. We want our audiences to see a reflection of our country, its people, and its myriad experiences on stage. Our characters? Oh, they’re as real as it gets – relatable, believable, and utterly lovable. With Aarambh, we’re not just staging a production; we’re crafting an immersive journey through the essence of our homeland. Our stories are woke, contextual, and relevant with a vibrant streak. We have a knack for presenting plays that delve into uncomfortable topics with a comforting approach, making difficult subjects more approachable.”

And why wait until the grand 15-year milestone to celebrate? As Purva Naresh boldly puts it, “Why not now? We wanted to dive into celebration mode before hitting the big 15. Our journey has been full of challenges, achievements, and excitement, and we’re seizing the moment to revel in it. We have managed to gradually steer our audience towards embracing Hindi theatre with fresh, original stories rather than just settling for adaptations.”

But wait, there’s more! Prepare to be schooled in the art of theatre by the industry’s finest, as Aarambh unveils a lineup of masterclasses that will set your creative soul on fire. From the lyrical genius of Niranjan Iyengar and Irshad Kamil in songwriting, to the comedic brilliance of Sanjay Rajoura in stand-up, to Yashaswi Mishra, the mastermind behind the writing and engaging screenplay and Kathak virtuoso Guru Rani Khanum.

For the little ones, there’s a storytelling workshop by the delightful Lovleen Mishra and a poetry masterclass by Naresh Saxena.

ALSO READ-Sharjah Ramadan Festival to Begin This Week

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Breaking Boundaries in Theatre at Serendipity

The theatre segment offered a wide range encompassing many foundations. From war, mental health, and alienation to LGBT+ themes…reports Asian Lite News

He says the guiding thought was ensuring unusual experiences, doing formal things in informal spaces, and vice-versa. For him, it was important to look at newer groups from across the country, and how their work is smashing ‘order’, and conveying the unsaid.

Theatre director Quasar Thakore Padamsee, curator of the theatre segment at the recently concluded Serendipity Arts Festival-2023 in Goa, tells IANS that it was important not to play safe and present the form in multiple and novel ways.

Padamsee, who helmed the curation before as well, says that in the beginning one mostly tries to capture the greatest hits. “However, over some time, we have achieved a lot and the confidence to take greater risks and the ambition has grown. We are constantly finding things that can be done differently. This is also one of the few festivals that has such a good relationship with space. There is so much cross-pollinating between art forms and a very interesting merger happens. It is very liberating to witness how art forms are shifting and coming together in a modern context,” he says about the festival that witnessed 150 events, works by over 300 artists, and 15 commissioned projects.

The theatre segment offered a wide range encompassing many foundations. From war, mental health, and alienation to LGBT+ themes.

The play ‘Jump’, directed and written by Maneesh Verma was performed on the terrace of a building, while Vikram Phukan’s ‘Postcards from Goa’ was ‘staged’ on a walking trail. ‘Afganisthan is Not Funny’ was brought forth using photographs while Tim Supple’s ‘Lives of Clay’, performed by Vidya Thirunarayan was experienced in a garden. ‘Aur Theatre Karo’ by Gopal Das was a collection of songs he had composed for the stage over decades.

The curator, who insisted that all participating groups underwent workshops to create more and new roots in the space for exchange of ideas adds, “A young theatre artist is excited to discuss things. Such festivals open doors about things that they might not have access to.”

Talk to Padamsee, who has directed and produced over 20 plays with his Mumbai-based theatre company QTP, about corporate funding in theatre and he laments that while 15-20 years back, the corporate world wanted to be seen as ‘giving’, but now everything is about sales. “Believe it or not, sometimes they even ask how their product will be placed on the stage. Everything has become just about sales, sadly. Also, most corporates will not touch a play that is difficult or experimental. Precisely why festivals are extremely important for theatre groups so they can tell the stories in the ways they want to.”

Even as several unique productions have been coming from small towns in the past few years, the director admits that are more connected to what is happening around them. “To be universal, you have to be connected. The experiences of major cities are becoming more similar…”

Even as his theatre company turns 25 next year, Padamsee wants to shut down all the old plays in the first half of the year. “We will be running one of our newer shows called ‘Lungs’ which is about a couple who are deliberating whether to bring a child into the world or not because it will add to the carbon footprint,” he concludes.

ALSO READ-Mayuri Upadhya’s Approach to Dance Curation

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NCPA Hosts Youth Theatre Extravaganza

The NCPA Summer Fiesta is a longstanding tradition that offers arts and cultural experiences for children during the holidays…reports Asian Lite News

As the year-end is approaching it’s time to reflect on the year gone by, and appreciate the journey along with planning for what to look forward to in 2024. Here is a list of events that the NCPA is looking forward to in 2024 in their Theatre & Films and Indian Music Department.

Theatre & Films in 2024:

Connections (11 – 15 January)

The National Centre of Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai is proud to associate with the National Theatre, London, to bring an exciting and unique youth theatre initiative – Connections India, for the second time to schools in Mumbai. The holistic theatre programme offers

students across age groups the opportunity to perform in a festival of fantastic new plays written for young people by acclaimed playwrights. In its second rendition, Connections India will witness 10 schools from around Mumbai, present their theatre experience on stage at the Experimental Theatre, NCPA between the 11th to the 15th of January 2024.

Constellations (15 -18 February)

The play will be presented at the NCPA in February with a new cast – Aahana Kumra and Kunal Roy Kapoor will take centre stage as Marianne and Roland respectively.

Marianne and Roland meet at a barbecue. They are single, recently single in a relationship or married? Perhaps they go on a date and fall in love, or perhaps it doesn’t go well. Maybe they get together, and they break up? After a chance encounter at a dance lesson preparing for an upcoming wedding, they get back together, or maybe Marianne reveals that she’s now engaged to someone else. Or perhaps Roland is engaged. Or what if Roland and Marianne navigate all of this and get married? Or what if their time together is cut tragically short?

“In the quantum multiverse, every choice, every decision you’ve ever and never made exists in an unimaginably vast ensemble of parallel universes.”  Does free will exist? Or are we playing out one of a multitude of predetermined possibilities? Two people. One relationship. Infinite possibilities.

Perfect Murder (Marathi – 350th Show in February)

The play will have a milestone performance at the NCPA.

Darpan 2024 (February)

After the success in its 1st year, the Darpan Marathi writing contest will shortlist a set of plays for year two and the winners will be announced after a short preview of their work by the panel. The winning play will then get into production for its premiere show at NCPA’s Annual Marathi Theatre Festival – Pratibimb

Pratibimb (May 2024)

Born out of the objective to inspire, encourage and support Marathi theatre, NCPA’s stages will be filled with plays, talks, readings, tours and workshops given by celebrated figures in Marathi theatre. This will be the 11th edition of the festival and it promises to build on the success of the 2023 edition, with a mix of popular and experimental pieces celebrated here at NCPA.

Summer Fiesta (June 2024)

The NCPA Summer Fiesta is a longstanding tradition that offers arts and cultural experiences for children during the holidays. This community-focused festival aims to inspire and empower young minds by providing interactive workshops conducted by local and national talent in areas such as acting, public speaking, music, and writing. The Summer Fiesta not only provides entertainment but also promotes the value of performing arts by offering high-quality workshops that are affordable for families.

Indian Music in 2024:

Aadi Anant – Tapur Tupur: Bachche, Bachpan aur Bachpana

Children’s poetry by Gurudev Tagore with Gulzar, Shantanu Moitra, Shaan, Mahalakshmi Iyer, a group of children and others

A concert with Ustad Zakir Hussain & Niladri Kumar (12 January)

In this recital, the artistes explore the sonic space together with each other, leaving aside the conventional hierarchy of either one of the instruments.

Sama’a (February)

Sama’a: The Mystic Ecstasy is a celebration of Sufi music at the NCPA, since 2009, which embraces the expansive ocean of Sufi thought through musical traditions, poetic forms and visual presentations. Finding its genesis in the Sufi practice of gathering to listen, Sama’a hopes to be the place where words become music.

Living Traditions (March)

India is perhaps the most musical and musically diverse region in the world. This diversity is evident in the folk traditions associated with different regions. Through this festival, we try to showcase the folk traditions of different regions.

In 2024 the focus will be on Jharkhand.

Saz – E – Bahaar (April)

The Indian subcontinent abounds in a variety of musical instruments, and a considerable specialisation is displayed in their usage. Instruments present music solos, provide melodic or rhythmic accompaniment or produce drones.

This will be the 11th edition of the Indian Instrumental Music Festival

ALSO READ-NCPA Theatre Division Presents Fleabag: A London Live Theatre Experience

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NCPA Theatre Division Presents Fleabag: A London Live Theatre Experience

It’s an exciting time as the spotlight is now shining in its full glory with artists on stage. The NCPA theatre division creates, presents, and hosts world-class theatre that entertains, challenges, and inspires. And the stage is abuzz with a fantastic line-up of presentations.

Fleabag I An NCPA-National Theatre Live (London) Presentation

Fleabag is a rip-roaring look at a woman living her sort of life. Fleabag may seem oversexed, emotionally unfiltered, and self-obsessed, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. With family and friendships under strain and a guinea pig café struggling to keep afloat, Fleabag suddenly finds that she has nothing to lose. 

Director: Vicky Jones

Written & performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge

What: Theatre Screening 

Duration: 100 mins (Approx.)

Where: Godrej Dance Theatre

When: Monday, 6 November- 6.00 pm; Monday, 20 November- 6.00 pm 

Age Suitability: 15+Tickets: BookMyShow

Kahaaniya ShowcaseI An NCPA Off-Stage Presentation in collaboration with Tape A Tale

Without stories, our lives would be a series of routine events that just went by. Stories make our otherwise mundane lives exciting and magical. Come join us for Tape A Tale’s signature storytelling show, Kahaaniya Showcase, which features some of the finest storytellers who are masters of the craft. The evening will entail a wide variety of storytelling forms on a single stage with a line-up you won’t want to miss. Our storytellers will share their personal stories that will touch your heart. Since its inception, Tape A Tale has done over 200 such shows across India and the Kahaaniya Showcase is our biggest celebration of the craft of storytelling. Tape A Tale is India’s largest storytelling platform with a following of 2.5 million. 

Performers: Ruchika Lohiya, Kopal Khanna, Vanika Sangtani and others  

Where: Experimental Theatre  

When: Saturday, 18 November– 7:30 pm

Language: English/ Hindi 

Duration: 100 mins

Age Suitability: 16+ 

Tickets: BookMyShow 

Big Show – All-Star Stand-up ComedyI An NCPA Off-Stage Presentation in collaboration withThe Habitat

Spend Saturday evening with the best in Standup Comedy, performing freshly baked material at The BIG Show: ALL STAR STANDUP COMEDY – The Habitat’s premier show which takes club comedy to a larger stage near you. 
This edition will have a BIG line-up consisting of Samay Raina, Raja Sekhar Mamidanna, Vaibhav Sethia, Shamik Chakrabarti, Sumit Sourav, Aman Jotwani, Mohd Hussain and Piyush Sharma.

Where: Experimental  Theatre  

When: Saturday, 25 November -  5 p.m. & 7.30 pm  

Language: English/ Hindi 

Duration: 105 mins 

Tickets: BookMyShow

Age Suitability: 16+

OMG 2 I The Indian Express Film Club screening in association with NCPA & Viacom18

“OMG 2” is a satirical comedy-drama film that tells the story of Kanti Sharan Mudgal, a devoted family man and Lord Shiva devotee. When his son, Vivek, is wrongly accused and expelled from school, Kanti embarks on a quest for justice, initially planning to leave town with his family. However, a divine intervention redirects him towards the truth, leading to a dramatic courtroom battle as Kanti seeks to hold those responsible accountable and enforce comprehensive education in schools.

Director: Amit Rai  

Producer: Vipul D. Shah, Aruna Bhatia, Ashwin Varde, Rajesh Behl, Swaroop Sampat, Ajit Andhare, Jyoti Deshpande & Hemal Thakkar  

Cast:  Akshay Kumar, Yami Gautam, Pankaj Tripathi, Arun Govil, Rofique Khan, Govind Namdev, Vedika Nanwani, Aarush Varma, Yash Bhojwani, Nishant Taliyan, Pavan Malhotra, Fahim Fazli, Parth Siddhpura, Aamir Naik, Brijendra Kala, Kabir Sadanand, Hemant Choudhary, Shreedhar Dubey, Rajiv Kachroo, Karan Aanand, & Naveen Singh.  

The film screening will be followed by a discussion with Shubhra Gupta, Film Critic, The Indian Express.

What: Comedy-drama

Where: Godrej Dance Theatre

When: Tuesday, 28th November – 6.30 pm

Language: Hindi Film with English Subtitles 

Duration: 150 min

Entry: on a first-come-first-served basis.

Reality Check I An NCPA Presentation in collaboration with Cinema Collective   

NCPA has revived the Reality Check film series, which was started in 2014, to promote and encourage documentary filmmakers in India, whose work reflects life and culture in the country today in a provocative blend of creativity and integrity.

What: Documentary Film Screening  

Where: Little Theatre

When: Thursday, 30th November – 6.30 pm

Entry:  on a first-come-first-served basis.

Bhuri Gatha I Hindi Film 

Bhuri Bai is a famous Bhil Painter from Bhil tribe of Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. This biographical sketch explores the Bhil tradition and emergence of Bhuri Bai on the contemporary art scene and showcases her journey to become pioneer of Bhil painting tradition. The film also explores her struggles and persona as an artist who later got acclaim and recognition with highest civilian honour Padma Shri that inspires the whole generation in her time. 

Producer: Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum   

Direction, Cinematography: Rajendra Janglay  

Screenplay, Narration and Associate Director: Sudeep Sohni  

Sound: Mrinalini Tewari 

Sound Design: Rajat Diwan  

Duration: 28 min 15 sec

Bhajju Chitra Lok I Hindi Film 

Bhajju Singh Shyam is one of the most important Gond painters in the contemporary modern art scenario of the world. He is among the few artists who combine tradition and modernity in the paintings. The biographical film explores his journey of becoming a celebrated painter in the tradition of Jangarh Singh Shaym that not only places him as a fine artist but also a disciple who carry forward a legacy to generation while getting all the accomplishments and recognition during his journey from a small village to the world.

Producer: Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum   

Direction, Cinematography: Rajendra Janglay  

Screenplay, Narration and Associate Director: Sudeep Sohni  

Sound: Mrinalini Tewari 

Sound Design: Rajat Diwan  

Duration: 28 min 10 sec

Mandal Ke Bol I Hindi Film 

The film offers a keen look at one of the most primitive tribes of India, the Baiga known for their tattoos and primal ways of life. Baigas have succeeded in retaining their cultural identity in spite of the changing social milieu. The film is a visual narrative of the culture, beliefs and lifestyle of this intriguing ancient tribal community.

Producer: Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum   

Direction, Cinematography: Rajendra Janglay  

Assistant Director: Nishant  

Screenplay, Narration: Udeyen Vajpai  

Sound: Hari Kumar M  

The film screenings will be followed by a post-film discussion. 

Duration: 29 min

Short Film Corner  

An NCPA Presentation in collaboration with White Wall Screenings

What: Short Film Screenings   

Where: Little Theatre  

Where: Wednesday, 22nd November– 6:30 pm

Entry: on a first-come-first-served basis. 


Escort is the story of a blind social worker living and working in a small town and his relationship with his replacement escort – an unemployed young farmer trying to find a life of dignity while his father battles a rising debt.

The two find themselves dependent on the other for the fundamental aspect of their survival – dignity. But what happens when one’s dignity comes at the cost of another’s?

Directed by Asmit Pathare

Language: Hindi film with English Subtitles

Duration: 27 mins


A heartfelt story about Diya and Rehan, a couple embracing adoption. Diya defies stereotypes, forming her own views on adoption, while Rehan battles societal misconceptions. Through their conversation, they dismantle these biases and they welcome a new family member and complete their Home (Ghar).

Directed by Sreejone

Language: Hindi-English

Duration: 9 mins 47sec

Two Way Street
An ordinary taxi ride becomes a battleground when the Taxi Driver refuses to enter a particular lane. The passenger, in turn, decides to not alight the vehicle until he reaches his destination.

What ensues is a projection of an inherent bias of the taxi Driver against a particular community and the defiance of the Passenger to end up as a victim of discrimination. 

Directed by Asmit Pathare

Language: Hindi film with English Subtitles 

Duration: 22 mins

GOOD by C.P. Taylor I An NCPA-National Theatre Live (London) Presentation

David Tennant (Doctor Who) makes a much-anticipated return to the West End in a blistering reimagining of one of Britain’s most powerful, political plays.

As the world faces the Second World War, John Halder, a good, intelligent German professor, finds himself pulled into a movement with unthinkable consequences.

Olivier Award-winner Dominic Cooke (Follies) directs C.P. Taylor’s timely tale, with a cast that also features Elliot Levey (Coriolanus) and Sharon Small (The Bay). Filmed live at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London.For interviews & more details on the program – contact:

What: Theatre Screening

Where: Godrej Dance Theatre

When: Wednesday, 29 November – 6:00 pm

Duration: Approx. 160 mins

Age Suitability:  6+

Ticket: BookMyShow(Coming Soon)

ALSO READ-Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival To Kick Off From Oct 5

Lite Blogs Theatre

Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival To Kick Off From Oct 5

The festival is curated by Padma Shri recipient Mohammad Ali Baig as a tribute to his legendary father, theatre doyen Qadir Ali Baig…reports Asian Lite News

The 18th edition of the prestigious Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival is beginning here on October 5.

The five-day theatre festival will be held at iconic venues of Salar Jung Museum and Taramati Baradari.

This year’s plays feature writing by Ismat Chughtai, German playwright Sibylle Berg and others and themes such as human relationships, the history of dissent, a chapter from the Ramayana, greed and the love for acting.

Artistes who will be seen in action include Anjan Srivastav, Masood Akhtar, Mita Vashisht, Sunil Shanbag, Ayesha Raza, Anubha Fatehpuria, Dr. Dalavai Kullayappa and more from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Anantapur.

According to the organisers, genres are diverse, spanning traditional puppet theatre, adaptations, biography, poetry, dance and satire. The festival will also feature free master classes by Mohammad Ali Baig, Anjan Srivastav and Sunil Shanbag on topics such as theatre management, the Indian method of acting and how life informs art.

The festival is curated by Padma Shri recipient Mohammad Ali Baig as a tribute to his legendary father, theatre doyen Qadir Ali Baig.

The Festival is being presented in association with Telangana Tourism, Salar Jung Museum, Goethe-Zentrum Hyderabad and is headlined by the Aparna Group.

According to Mohammad Ali Baig, over the past 18 years, Hyderabad’s Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival which has hosted the virtual who’s who of Indian and global theatre has come to be regarded as one of the foremost theatre assemblies in the subcontinent, at the same time giving an impetus to new work from upcoming young artistes of different cities.

From classical to contemporary theatre, physical and dance theatre, puppet and circus theatre, bio-plays to solo performances, mythological and avant-garde, intimate and spectacle, musicals and storytelling, historical pageants to social dramas, the festival repertoire has presented a wide bouquet to theatre aficionados of the south.

While thespians like Habib Tanvir, Usha Ganguli, Tom Alter, Surekha Sikri and Jalabala Vaidya had their last stage appearances at this national assembly, Alyque Padamsee, Pankaj Kapur and Kulbhushan Kharbanda made their comebacks to theatre on this stage.

Leading actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Anupam Kher have paid annual tributes to Qadir Ali Baig.

ALSO READ-Theatre Needs More Support, Corporate Backing Lacking

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Theatre Needs More Support, Corporate Backing Lacking

“The atmosphere in the rehearsal room was brilliant. It was lovely to be around them and there were things that happened to people but the kind of joy that was in the room was unbelievable. The level which people share, it was an absolute joy. It is a comedy and there are so many different ideas. “…reports Asian Lite News

Long back, he had seen the film ’To Be or Not To Be’, a textbook movie shown at all film schools which is about a Polish theatre group struggling to survive, trying to escape and fool Hitler and his people. The film made a huge impact on theatre director Atul Kumar, and thus was born the play ‘Baaghi Albele’.

“Many artists including myself feel censored and attacked. A few of my close friends have also suffered and it felt like the right time to attempt it. So I approached the writer Nick Witbee and he allowed us to perform it. One is always trying to negotiate how to put out your views — directly, metaphorically and poetically. The play is our attempt to underline, through performance, the relevance of art and artists to the healthy growth of a nation. ‘Baaghi Albele’, is daring and brave and I am proud of it,” he told. 

In times, when getting ‘hurt’ seems to be the easiest thing to do — stand-up comedy, a film’s name, and a very shallow and linear reading of the ‘culture’, he hopes people become stronger every time they are silenced. “There have been places where theatre groups have performed the same play where a group member was killed. I admire such hearts of steel. I just pray we develop multiple ways of fighting back.” 

This is Kumar’s first production in Punjabi and he is set to bring it to Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Amritsar. The director, who grew up in Old Delhi amid Punjabis, understands the language well. When he decided to adapt it to an Indian situation, he zeroed in on this language as it has a joie de vivre. “Punjabis have always fought against oppression and been a part of so many revolutions,” he asserts.

“The atmosphere in the rehearsal room was brilliant. It was lovely to be around them and there were things that happened to people but the kind of joy that was in the room was unbelievable. The level which people share, it was an absolute joy. It is a comedy and there are so many different ideas. “

Kumar rejects the narrative that many major corporates are coming forward to support theatre. Adding that neither the government nor business houses are doing anything substantial for this art form, he laments that it is a constant struggle and plays that do get sponsorships mostly manage that through personal relations. “Yes, there are some corporate’ backed festivals, but they are careful about the content that goes out in the world so that their name does get attached to anything controversial. Frankly, the most important theatre festival is the one that happens in Kerala which is completely state-funded. And that is autonomous and they get international and national. And if people are putting crores and lakhs then they do want their share back.” 

Kumar, who trained in Kathakali and Kalaripayattu for several years says the same has had a huge impact on his psycho-physical formation as an actor, not to mention how these forms contributed to his fitness. “Although I don’t practice those art forms now they have had an impact on my creativity too, and I do many things that are not in the genre of theatre and not everyday stories. It helped me to delve into that world and allowed me to bring it into the contemporary world.”

Now seen regularly on OTT and in films, he smiles, he has to make some money too. “My kids are growing up fast. You will see me in more movies and series.” 

The director, who started an international residency in Kamshet 12 years back where artists from across the world come to perform and hold workshops, adds, “We hold festivals and children’s workshops there too, besides performances at local schools. It is completely organic and blends itself beautifully with all kinds of art.”

Wanting to try out Harold Pinter’s ‘Mountain Language’ and do it in 13 different languages in 13 cities, he also wants to explore Charlie Chaplin’s biography. “I am also thinking of taking a long sabbatical… I have done theatre for so long, I do want to try something else too.”

ALSO READ-The Snowman Brings Christmas Magic Back To Peacock Theatre