Festive Season Begins At Prithvi Theatre
Legendary Prithviraj Kapoor
When one mentions Stage Plays and Coffee in a single sentence then the only place that instantly comes to mind is Prithvi Theatre in Juhu, Mumbai. Other than Bollywood, Theatre is the only form of entertainment and art that I feel passionately about. Blame it on my schooling days when I performed for the first time at this very theatre or my college days which were mostly spent at the Prithvi canteen rather than the classroom.
A theatre company called ‘Prithvi Theatres’ was started by the famed actor Prithviraj Kapoor around the 1940s with the aim of giving something to the society in return of the celebrity status and honor they had bestowed upon him. He commissioned original plays on circumstantial topics of the day, which his group then performed across India. In 1978, Prithvi Theatre was built several years later in memory of his extraordinary commitment and enthusiasm for theatre.
Prithvi Theatre has come a long way since then – with annually 400 shows, 100 plays, nearly 50 groups participation and an outreach of around 70,000 thousand audience.
But this commendable achievement requires bucket-loads of hard-work and careful planning, especially with the ever increasing competition from Bollywood and Cable Television. Inorder to take theatre to a newer level and increase its awareness not only in metro locations but also other cities, in 1983 we saw the arrival of Prithvi Festival – The first and only one of its kind in India.
As stated in their festival brochure –
The Prithvi Fest’s basic goal is to celebrate theatre in its myriad forms – local, national, international; new idioms, old traditions cross-cultural exchanges retrospectives. It also seeks to create awareness, push boundaries, open discourse by traveling to multiple locations.
Prithvi Festival’s Theme for 2006
Prithvi Festival starts from 3rd November and will go on till 19th November. And will consist of stage-performances from 28 production houses, showcasing around 45 stage-plays at 4 different venues in Mumbai; Prithvi Theatre (Juhu), Yashwant Natya Mandir (Matunga), Horniman Circle Garden (Fort) and Lands End Garden Amphitheatre (Bandra).
Since this year marks the birth centenary of the legendary Prithviraj Kapoor, the Festival Theme is based on further emphasis on the motto of Prithvi Theatres, “Kala Desh Ki Seva Mein”. It will be an attempt to explore and answer questions such as, what does Kala Desh Ki Seva Mein mean in 2006? What role do theatre artists and their art play? What role do we want to play, as theatrewallahs, as citizens of this country?
The festival will also feature for the very first time an Exhibition on the life of its founder, Prithviraj Kapoor.
The exhibition will be an attempt to tell the tale that brought this young Pathan to the heart of the film industry in Mumbai to become an actor – then went on to become one of the leading contributors to theatre in India while at the height of his film career – an extraordinary tale of a man with a burning passion for theatre.
Still from – “Dakghar”
This time round Prithvi Fest will also showcase Malayalam, Tamil and Bengali plays along with Marathi, English and Hindi. These plays will be a part of Tagore Festival, featuring shows like Raj-Rakt (Dir: HabibTanvar), Raja (Dir: K.N. Pannikar), Dakghar (Dir: H. Kanhailal) and Raktakarabi (Dir: Suman Mukhopadhyay).
Platform Performance will also be a key-feature of this year’s festvities which will be held everday from 8.00 pm onwards at Prithvi Theatre and entry is free.
So if you are a theatre lover or someone who wants to simply experience the pleasure of electrifying performance then do make it a point to a part of Prithvi Festivities this year.
A festival that brings together theatre icons and young blood, diverse forms, multiple languages, remarkable insights?two and a half weeks of fascinating entertainment.
Tickets are avaliable at Prithvi Theatre (26149546), Yashwant Natya Mandir (24381569), The Hutch Shop (9833587998). And Events Calender can been seen, here.