Ananda: Hindi Natya Utsav was started in 2011 to encourage Hindi theatre. Now, in its fourth edition, the four-day event will feature four plays that will premiere at Ananda. Simla Coffee House, one of the premiere plays, is directed by Rakesh Bedi and depicts how society and literature are counter images of each other. The Return of Baijaneehapinala, written and directed by Rohit Tiwari, is a musical comedy for children and adults set in a fantasy land, and takes off from seven different fairy tales.
The play, Kaamiya, revolves around the need for a liberal space for women
The third, Outsider, directed by Gouri Dutt, is based on Albert Camus’ L’Etranger, which tells the story of M, a man who gets involved in a violent murder. The final play, Kaamiya, is an Ank production directed by Ram Gopal Bajaj; it is a winner of the Sultan Padamsee Award. The play emphasises on the need for space to grow that society denies women.
The play, Mitro Marjani, was part of Ananda 2013
How: Speaking about the genesis of the event, Deepa Gahlot, Head — Programming (Theatre and Film), NCPA, says, “Ananda was started to encourage new Hindi plays. Hindi theatre seems to get short shrift, unless it has big stars, because there is no venue in the city dedicated to Hindi plays.
The making of the play, The Return of Baijaneehapinala, a fantasy tale for kids
The Ananda festival becomes a catalyst for new work in Hindi.” In the past, new groups and established companies have performed at Ananda. Several plays have had successful runs, including Kabuliwala, Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan and Mitro Marjani. The event is named Ananda (Hindi for joy) since it aims to spread the joy of Hindi theatre to larger audiences. Gahlot adds that it’s challenging to get the right mix of plays to appeal to all age groups. Hence, this year they will stage a play for kids as well.
On: Today, 7 pm: Simla Coffee House by Indian People’s Theatre Association; May 2, 7 pm: The Return of Baijaneehapinala; May 3, 7 pm; Outsider by ‘D for Drama’; May 4, 7 pm; Kaamiya by Ank
At: Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.