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The activist theatre group uses the stage to spread its messages

Published: 11th March 2013 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th March 2013 12:14 PM   |  A+A-

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In a string of three connected words, college theatre group Pankh, makes a lot of sense — actors-acts-activism. Started in 2011 by a group of engineering students from KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Pankh has been involved in ‘activist theatre’. They do short plays, street theatre and short films, mostly based on issues in the society as the central theme.

While Pankh has 25 members at present, there are 10 to 15 students who act in all its plays. All the members belong to different engineering streams like civil, electrical and mechanical and are from various states.

“Initially, we were a group of friends with a common interest in theatre. We started performing short plays during college parties and on occasions like Independence Day and Republic Day. Our group had no name, but each of us wanted to be involved in theatre. So, we decided to participate in college competitions and in one such competition, we reached the top five but did not win despite performing really well. It was then we decided to rope in more students and form a professional group,” says Kumar Deepankar.

Their last act was based on violence against women. Their play, Meri Muskaan, Mera Haq, was staged, as part of a three-day campaign by the youth organisation Rhythm of Nation. Likewise, street plays on HIV/AIDS, tobacco consumption, youth integration, etc, have been staged in many parts of Bhubaneswar. Pankh’s recent short movie Ehsaas, which was uploaded on YouTube has already received 30,ooo views.

Deepankar states that communication through theatre goes a long way, “What one doesn’t want or can’t talk about in society can be expressed through theatre.” The group has so far seen over 5,000 people sitting through its shows.

“Just like there are people who love watching niche movies in multiplexes, there is an audience for theatre. People are ready for something different, something fun,” say the members in unison.

— diana@newindianexpress.com



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