A newly opened theatre and arts centre named after Late Marathi actor and singer Jyotsna Bhole is stirring up the spirits of theatre enthusiasts in the city. With the existing PMC theatres expensive and mostly unavailable or booked solid, drama and experimental theatre groups are upbeat with the development.The Balgandharv Rangmandir on J M Road and Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha at Kothrud are high-priced and out of reach for some drama groups, and to cater to such groups, the Maharashtra Cultural Center (MCA) — a private group working towards improvement of theatre, music and dance — opened the Jyotsna Bhole theatre three days ago, and will be opening another similar theatre in the same complex naming it after veteran theatre personality Late Pt Satyadev Dubey.
Shubhangi Damle, deputy president, MCA, said, “We spent a total sum of Rs 1 crore by taking a bank loan. Both the theatres have a seating capacity of 300 and 250 respectively. These will each have a huge lobby and also extensive parking facilities. For the Jyotsna Bhole Rangmanch, we will charge commercial drama groups Rs 6,000 for a show. Hindi and English plays that are showcased at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai, and plays from the National School of Drama could now be exhibited in the city.” Bhagyashri Desai, producer-actress Rasikmohini, said, “PMC’s theatres are expensive and not available whenever we want it. It is good that we now have options.”
Hemant Wagh, secretary, Akhil Bharatiya Sankrutik Sangh (ABSS), who conducts international cultural shows, said, “Pune has its own cultural glory and many artists in the world want to perform here, but can’t do it.”
Bharat Kumawat, manger at Balgandharv Rangmandir, said, “Our theatre has the highest demand, as we accept booking not only for dramas, but also for Lavani songs and other cultural shows organised by the PMC. We charge anywhere between Rs 11, 000 to 16,000 depending upon the requirement and also charge money for the sets. If the play requires advertisement, the overall expenditure rises to Rs 25,000 per show. The rates are similar at the Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha, Kothrud.”
Rashtra Seva Dal’s new theatre named after well-known actor Late Nilu Phule has already started on the Sinhagad Road area near Parvati hills. Suresh Deshmukh, manager of the theatre, said, “We have good ventilation and our programmes are packed because people want to conduct plays or cultural shows at affordable rates.”
Virendra Chitrav, organiser of ‘Pulotsav’ a cultural show organised in memory of renowned humorist and litterateur late Pu La Deshpande, said, “We are not getting dates for Balgandharva since the last four years at Balgandharv Rangamandir. Pu La himself had provided the design of the theatre and took personal interest to spruce it up. We are not asking for any financial assistance from the PMC, but want to be given dates in November every year.”