CHANDI­GARH’S STO­RY­TELLERS TAKE CEN­TRE STAGE AT FEST

Most of the lo­cal artistes don’t have a de­gree in dra­mat­ics. It’s mere pas­sion they share

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - City - - HTCITY ENTERTAINMENT - Aakriti Sharma

Ev­ery artiste has his own tale, a part of which he tells with ev­ery performance. The tales lead up to the stage to make one story.

Like for Balochan Ma­lik it was a packet of bis­cuits that drew him to­wards the­atre 12 years ago. A so­cial worker, Ma­lik says, “The­atre has a way for ev­ery­one. When I went to Kala­gram to learn act­ing in re­turn for a bis­cuit, I didn’t know how it would shape my life. Today, what­ever I have be­come is be­cause of the­atre.”

The five-day Tric­ity The­atre Fes­ti­val or­gan­ised by the de­part­ment of cul­tural af­fairs ended at Tagore The­atre on Fri­day. The tick­eted shows for the plays of lo­cal the­atre groups turned out to be a source of en­cour­age­ment for the artistes.

What makes these tric­ity the­atre groups unique is their con­nect with lo­cals. Not all mem­bers of these groups are full-time the­atre artistes. Most of them don’t even have a de­gree in dra­mat­ics. It’s mere pas­sion driv­ing these artistes, says the founder of The­atre Arts Chandi­garh group Ra­jiv Me­hta, an ac­coun­tant by pro­fes­sion. From a Class-12 stu­dent to a re­tired bank em­ployee, youth fest par­tic­i­pants to a house­wife, es­tab­lished artistes to bud­ding tal­ent, ev­ery per­son cut­ting across age groups per­formed in the fes­ti­val. Sukhwinder Kaur, a house­wife and a mother of two, says no­body in her fam­ily likes that she does the­atre, not even her hus­band.

“But it is my ob­ses­sion. I fall sick if I am not do­ing this.” While some pro­fes­sional artistes be­lieve that the­atre can help them earn a liveli­hood, Asha Sak­lani, a the­atre artiste for 20 years, says more than a pro­fes­sion, the­atre has been a way of life, a ther­apy for her. “It was ini­tially a fight against my par­ents to join the­atre but after that it be­came a way to ex­press my­self,” she says. Some be­come part of the­atre by co­in­ci­dence such as Mu­n­ish Kapoor who was spot­ted by a di­rec­tor at a party and got in­vited to Sec­tor 26 for prac­tice in 1998. “I was await­ing re­sults of gov­ern­ment ex­ams but then one day I went for the­atre prac­tice and be­fore I knew it, it be­came my pro­fes­sion,” says Mu­n­ish, who started Dr­ishti The­atre Club in 2003. There are some for whom the­atre runs in the fam­ily. Gau­rav Sharma, who is do­ing the­atre since 1997, says his father and brother were into the­atre and now even his sis­ter, An­jali, is a part of it. From direc­tion, act­ing to makeup and lights, Gau­rav does it all.

In­dian cul­ture is such that it it­self in­tro­duces one to the stage be­cause for many artistes the jour­ney starts from par­tic­i­pat­ing in Ram Leela and so was the case for Ra­jat and San­deep from the play Holi.

As young lo­cal artistes see a scope in the­atre as a pro­fes­sion with uni­ver­si­ties and schools mak­ing it a sub­ject, for Alka and Balochan who per­form in ru­ral areas as part of aware­ness cam­paigns, it will re­main an im­por­tant way to con­vey in­for­ma­tion to so­ci­ety.

Artistes per­form­ing Bha­gat Singh Ki Ka­hani Durga Bhabhi Ki Zubani dur­ing the five-day Tric­ity The­atre Fes­ti­val, which con­cluded at Tagore The­atre, on Fri­day. KE­SHAV SINGH/HT

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