Ø  Inaugural Play Uttara Rama Charitham performed as a tribute to Legendary Theatre Director Kavalam Narayana Panikkar

Ø  Inaugural Ceremony of 19th Bharat Rang Mahotsav addressed by Sonal Mansingh, Narendra Kumar Sinha, Feroz Abbas Khan, Vera Berzak Schneider, Ratan Thiyam & Waman Kendre


New Delhi, 1st February, 2017: 19th edition of National School of Drama’s International Drama Festival Bharat Rang Mahotsav 2017 today kicked off at Kamani Auditorium in the capital. The inaugural ceremony was presided over by Shri Ratan Thiyam, Chairman, National School of Drama Society and addressed by Shri Waman Kendre, Director, National School of Drama in the august presence of Chief Guest, Dr. Sonal Mansingh, renowned Bharatnatyam & Odissi Dancer and Guru; Guest of Honour, Mr. Narendra Kumar Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India; and Special Guests, Mr. Feroz Abbas Khan, Eminent Film and Theatre Director and Ms Vera Berzak Schneider, famous Theatre Director from Israel, whose play in English “A Stranger Guest” will also be performed during the current Bharat Rang Mahotsav.

After the Inaugural Ceremony today, the inaugural play Uttara Rama Charitham (in Hindi) was staged before the discerning audience as a tribute to the Legendary Theatre Director, Kavalam Narayana Panikkar. The play was performed by Sopanam Theatre Group of Thiruvanthapuram, Kerala and was of 1 hour and 30 mins duration. This year 3 Plays as a tribute to Indian Theatre MastersKavalam Narayan Pannikar, Heisnam Kanhailal and Prem Matiyani who recently left for heavenly abode are being staged.


Sopanam’s maiden Hindi production, Uttara Rama Charitam is adapted from Bhavabhuti’s Sanskrit play. The play directed and designed by Kavalam Narayana Panikkar has its text rendition done by Hindi poet Dr. Udayan Vajpeyi. The play depicts the dual state of Rama, who is torn between Rama-the family man and Rama-the ruler.


Panikkar imagines a play in rhythm, which inter-relates the realm of the form and the content. The play primarily works along the lines of three rasas: karuna, shringar and veera with the latter two rasas lying latent in the original play but which has also been brought out in the current production. In the play this beautiful triangle of these rasas has been redefined and the poetic images now assumes a creative sub-textual dimension. It brings out the conflict of being Rama. He is Rama that is why he will have to suffer, he is Rama that is why he will love, he is Rama that is why he will have to protect his people. But being all these he is endlessly out of equilibrium. That is why his stories are told. And being Sita is also to live in this triangle. She is Sita that is why she will love, she is Sita that is why she will have to suffer separation, she is Sita that is why she will have to face the loneliness in forest with courage. This subtle triangle can be sensed throughout the play. It is through this play that all movements of the actors on the stage take on a grace that only someone like Panikkar is capable of bringing out in the performance.


The performances of Bharat Rang Mahotsav 2017 will be held at Abhimanch, Open Air Theatre, Bahumukh and Sammukh at the NSD Campus as well as LTG Auditorium, Kamani Auditorium and Shri Centre for Performing Arts at Mandi House, New Delhi. Tickets will be available at the NSD Box Office (10AM to 4PM) and at the website in denominations of Rs.50, Rs.100, Rs.200, Rs.300, Rs.400 as per schedule.


Prof. Waman Kendre, Director, National School of Drama, said, “Today, on the occasion of Basant Panchami, the spring season of theatre has also started. Bharat Rang Mahotsav – International Drama Festival is Asia’s biggest and also among the largest in the world. Bharat Rang Mahotsav’s this years’ schedule features 94 theatre performances by renowned theater groups from different parts of India and world. This year in this 21 day festival, theatre lovers of 6 Indian cities including New Delhi, Kurukshetra, Pune, Agartala, Hyderabad and Patna would be treated to scintillating theatre performances.


19 years back, Prof Ram Gopal Bajaj has started Bharat Rang Mahotsav and media has played a great role in popularizing it apart from all other stakeholders doing their job. National School of Drama has produced undoubtedly great Theatre talents in the country. Any institute which has such distinction needs to take on a lot of responsibility. Recently, NSD has on the National front done a lot of work by sometimes reviving and sometimes showcasing rural, urban, tribal, folk and modern theatre across the country including Adi Rang Mahotsav, North East Festival, National Festival and the recently concluded Classical Theatre Festival in Varanasi, etc. On the Institutional level as well extraordinary work has been done to cover the length and breadth of the country, by imparting education, with presence and through workshops & festivals. If that was not all, NSD has also bolstered its presence on the World Forums of Theatre as the current chair of Asia Pacific Bureau of Theatre Schools for 2 years and vice-chair of Global Alliance of Theatre Schools (GATS) in the recently concluded session in Peru.”


Next year, National School of Drama is trying to have Bharat Rang Mahotsav’s Parallel Festivals in 10 to 12 Indian Cities. World Theatre Olympics would also be tried in 2018 which will prove to be the largest congregation of theatre practitioners and theatre aficionados, personalities, scholars, littérateurs in the world. From this year all allied programmes and 25 plays whose theatre groups have given us their consent will be Live webcast.


Mr. Feroz Abbas Khan, Eminent Film and Theatre Director invited as Special Guest to the Inaugural Ceremony , said, “I feel that Artists should not speak, it is their work that should speak. I appreciate the two doyens of Theatre are on the dais – namely Prof. Waman Kendre and Shri Ratan Thiyam, who are institutions in their own right. I think Festivals means and expresses Civilizational values which we cherish. It is during such festivals that the Civilizational values like the following comes to the fore: Diversity, with their differences and choices are accommodated and welcomed in such festivals; Inclusive, not excluding but which is natural; Argumentative, for example one theatre might be completely different from the other; Humane, since it is a part of common destiny; Fiercely Independent, Freedom of expression is a right – not a patronage given by a institution and only dependent on the quantity.”


Ms. Vera Berzak Schneider, famous Theatre Director from Israel, whose play in English “A Stranger Guest” will also be performed during the current Bharat Rang Mahotsav and was invited as a Special Guest said, “I would like to thank all for inviting me to India and Bharat Rang Mahotsav. I am curious to see all the performances that will happen during 19th Bharat Rang Mahotsav. I would like to see what all Creativity would be on display. Theatre should be about freedom for both – for Artists – so that they can be fearless in what they want to depict, using forms and experience and Audience for embracing the change.”


Mr. Narendra Kumar Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India said, “NSD’s teacher student ratio is better than any IIT and most of the Padam awardees are its alumni. That National School of Drama has been granted 180 Crores and CPWD is soon going to start construction. National School of Drama is among the 3 to 4 main schools of the world. The web portal of cultural ministry has 45 web channels and I suggest NSD to take 2-3 of them and webcast their teaching material. It will help them educate not just 26 students but to cater a wider range of theatre aspirants. We need to think about how, when and in what form the World Theatre Olympic should be organized while the funds are my responsibility. We should organize a meeting with all theatre aficionados, theatre practitioners and theatre lovers and their suggestions should be incorporated to make the blue print of World Theatre Olympic. I hope that the 20th Bharangam will happen along with the world Theater Olympic.”

Chief Guest at the Inaugural Ceremony, Dr. Sonal Mansingh, renowned Bharatnatyam & Odissi Dancer and Guru said,Every day is auspicious day but today being Basant Panchami is considered as one of the most auspicious days according to Hindu Calendar. Today, since 19th Bharat Rang Mahotsav started today which is an auspicious day to begin work as it is a day dedicated to Goddess Sarawati – the deity of knowledge.  I feel that knowledge will kill all ignorance and I am still a student and seeker of knowledge. National School of Drama is growing each day and it is leaping ahead, my warm wishes and blessings are with this organization. 19th Bharat Rang Mahotsav has also invited me and I feel honored to showcase my maiden performance here.”


Shri Ratan Thiyam, Chairman, National School Of Drama Society says, “It is difficult to understand the art but easy to talk about it. Art builds a bridge between inner and outer aspect of life. One has to be mentally creative, emotionally stimulating and physically harnessing to serve the purpose of an artist and should understand that there is no shortcut in art. Bharat Rang Mahotsav’s purpose is to create a bridge of understanding and impart the concept of freedom, equality, truth, love and harmony and to purify our soul with art and aesthetics.”


Bharat Rang Mahotsav

The Bharat Rang Mahotsav was started around two decades ago by the NSD in order to contribute to the growth and development of theatre across the country with the aim of providing a platform for theatre performances and interaction. From being a national festival that presented the work of some of the most creative theatre workers in India, it has grown into an international event, hosting theatre companies from around the world, and is today acknowledged as the largest theatre festival of Asia dedicated solely to theatre. In addition to the national and international performances that are staged during the Festival, the fare also includes exhibitions, installations, interactive sessions with directors and performers for the general public and professionals, a vibrant theatre café, open forums and meetings and a shorter festival in another city to which some of the productions travel. For further information please visit :


National School of Drama

The National School of Drama is one of the foremost theatre training institutions in the world and the only one of its kind in India. It was set up by the Sangeet Natak Akademi as one of its constituent units in 1959. In 1975, it became an independent entity and was registered as an autonomous organization under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860, fully financed by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Training in the School is highly intensive and is based on a thorough, comprehensive, carefully planned syllabus which covers every aspect of theatre and in which theory is related to practice. As a part of their training, students are required to produce plays which are then performed before the public. For further information please visit :

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