Starting today, Mumbaikars can catch 17 new plays in Hindi as part of the Bhausaheb Open Hindi Ekanki Natya Spardha, an annual open theatre competition organised in memory of theatre personality, Giresh Desai, popularly known as Bhausaheb.

Currently in its 13th year, the competition was founded in 2003 by two ex-students of Desai — Dharmendra Gohil and Hussaini Dawawala — and since then, has been held every year in March and April by them and other ex- students of Bharatiya Natya Shikshapeeth in association with Kala Kendra, where Desai served as the director.

Stills of plays
Stills of plays, which were staged at the festival in 2014

"The idea behind the competition is to give anyone interested in theatre a platform to showcase their talent. This is the only Hindi theatre competition in Mumbai open to all," informs Gohil. He says that the competition is an attempt to keep alive the theatre movement that Desai started in the 1980s. He was also a renowned Gujarati director. "Bhausaheb has influenced nearly everyone, who was associated with theatre from the 1980s, till his death, 13 years ago. In fact, he was one of the few theatre personalities with influence across regions and languages. But most importantly, as the director of Kala Kendra, he motivated and guided several students to take theatre more seriously," reveals Gohil.

This year, the competition received 35 entries, of which 17 were selected for the elimination round that begins today, which also happens to be the birth anniversary of Bhausaheb. The finale, scheduled for April 4, will include winners from the elimination round. All the plays for the elimination round are open to public for free, while the finale shows are ticketed.

From: Today till April 3 (elimination), and April 4 (finale), 2 pm onwards
At: Bhavan's Auditorium, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, KM Munshi Marg, Chowpatty.
Call: 23631261