New Delhi: War play 'Ghazab Teri Adaa', the latest creation by National School of Drama (NSD), today opened the 17th edition of Bharat Rang Mahotsav here.
The play, set in an imaginary time and place, revolves around the never ending aspiration for an expansion of kingdom. It began with a farewell address to the soldiers for the hundredth war.
The theatre festival was inaugurated by Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Tourism and Culture and Civil Aviation and National Award-winning actor and an NSD alumnus Om Puri. It was presided by Ratan Thiyam, Chairman, NSD Society.
NSD director Waman Kendre, who also created the play, said, "The festival needs more promotion and projection. We aspire to make it bigger than the two largest theatre festivals-- Edinburgh and Avignon. Bharat Rang Mahotsav is already Asia's biggest theatre festival. We started off with five plays and now we are showcasing more than 200 productions."
Om Puri, who was the special guest of the evening and unveiled the brochure of the festival, felt 'great' to be back at the NSD after four decades.
"This place is very special to me as I started my career here. I am glad to see the way this festival has been organised. I postponed my return to Mumbai because I want to watch few plays. So, I will be staying tomorrow here," said the NSD graduate.
This year's festival's theme is 'Breaking Borders' and it will organise World Theatre Forum, where stage luminaries from all over the world and across the country will interact with the audience.
12 countries including UK, Germany, China, USA, Poland, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh are taking part in the 18-day long festival. Pakistani plays, however, will be conspicuous by their absence.
82 productions in 23 languages and performances by 125 groups will be the highlight of the theatre extravaganza.
"I am honoured to be present between artistes and theatre lovers. I pledge to protect Indian theatre and cultural heritage," said Mahesh.
For the first time, the festival will travel to other Indian cities like Agartala, Jabalpur, Aurangabad and Panaji.
In the coming days, the festival will pay tribute to some of the veterans of art and cultural field like Shambhu Mitra and Begum Akhtar on their birth centenary and Veenapani Chawla, who passed away recently. This will include performances, exhibitions, and lectures on the three artistes.
Lalit Kala Akademi, Sahitya Akademi, Sangeet Natak Akademi and other government cultural bodies have associated with the festival for the first time.
Bharat Rang Mahotsav 2015 will come to an end with a presentation of 'Aadirangam', an ensemble of eight tribal group performers from all over India by Laique Hussain, on February 18.