Touch of modernity revives Gujarati theatre

MYSORE: Unlike in other states, theatre is not an exception in a progressive state like Gujarat which is scripting new chapters in development and welfare activities. Faced with the severe sca

Published: 16th January 2012 05:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:15 PM   |  A+A-

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MYSORE: Unlike in other states, theatre is not an exception in a progressive state like Gujarat which is scripting new chapters in development and welfare activities. Faced with the severe scarcity of audience, Gujaratis have made some changes to suit the present needs.

The revival of Gujarati theatre was visible when a Jamnagar-based theatre troupe staged ‘Durga and Gruhashanti’ based on the works of Jnanpith awardee Umashankar Joshi at the Bahuroopi National Theatre Festival here on Sunday.

Interacting with Express on the measures employed to revive Gujarati theatre, Viral Rachh, one of the main characters of the play, said that they did away with the old fashioned dialogue delivery using words in vogue to attract crowds.

“We realised that people get bored if the language is different from the day-to-day speech. Hence, we switched over to a popular style which had a mix of English and Hindi. That trick worked out better and started drawing youth to the theatre,” he said. He said that though the title ‘Durga and Gruhashanti,’ staged on Sunday suggests that it is associated with God, rituals and superpower, the audience were amused to see some western dance too.

It is essential to give a modern touch to the plays no matter how old the plot is, he said. Prateek Shukla of the troupe said that Gujarati plays are not only popular in Gujarat, but also in some parts of Maharashtra. Another artiste Arati Malkan said that revival of Gujarati theatre was possible because of the overwhelming support from the state government. “Theatre artistes are invited to perform in every cultural and literary programme and paid good remuneration, which encourages more people to get involved,” he said.

 Malkan, a small screen actress, was amazed to be invited to perform in Bahuroopi and said that this experience will definitely help theatre  grow further besides serving as a better platform for  outsiders who can learn from other language theatres.

It is the first trip of the troupe to Karnataka and they are hoping to carry some ideas from here that will further help in the revival of theatre.

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