Its journey to centre stage

Its journey to centre stage
Mysuru, the cultural capital of the State, is all set to witness ‘Bahuroopi’, the annual theatre festival, organised by Rangayana. The theatre institute has carved a name for itself in the history of Indian theatre movement for its social and culturally-significant programmes, and Bahuroopi is one of its major initiatives. The event that is held for five to seven days is a celebration of theatre. This year, it is being organised from January 14 to 18.

In 2000, it started as a national level drama festival with focus on different languages and cultures. It was well received by people, and, as a result, it became an annual theatre festival in the name of ‘Bahuroopi’. In the first year, the theme of the festival was gender sensitivity. While Rangayana reached its heights under the leadership of its visionary founder-director B V Karanth, his successors have also kept the same tempo. With regional centres in Dharwad, Kalaburagi and Shivamogga, the main thrust of Rangayana is to ensure that diverse communities, languages, cultures and art forms merge under a single platform, and thereby take the best of theatrical experiments and experiences to common people. This objective is at the heart of Bahuroopi festival.

Theatre stalwarts from different parts of the country participate in Bahuroopi. Amongst the stalwarts who have inaugurated the national drama festival include towering personalities like Mrinal Sen, Habib Tanvir, V K Murthy, Anuradha Kapur, Girish Karnad and Kanhaiyalal. The themes of the cultural activities that are performed at this festival revolve around contemporary issues like children’s theatre, adolescence, social justice, plurality of cultures, awareness on water conservation, peasant culture, the Sufi saints’ message of harmony etc.

Bahuroopi has not only tried to explore theatrical possibilities, human perspectives and imaginations, but has also responded to challenges and turbulent situations from time to time. In fact, plays with interesting and thought-provoking themes are staged in this festival. Along with providing an opportunity to watch  unique and experimental plays, Bahuroopi also organises handicrafts exhibition, seminars, poster exhibition, film festival, street plays and painting camps to reach out to more people. The festival also hosts an interaction with theatre artistes, and also various programmes under the title ‘Mane Mane Ranga’.

This year, apart from the enactment of Kannada, Hindi, Malayalam, Sanskrit, Tamil and Odiya drama performances, one can also watch the performances of theatre groups from other countries like Poland, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan at the festival. The programmes that are hosted here have a wide scope and are able to reach out to people not only from Mysuru, but also across the State. This is an important cultural attraction every year in Mysuru.

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