For 40 years, IPTA's Inter-Collegiate Drama Competition (ICDC) has produced some of the best actors in the entertainment industry. Watch talented artistes take their first steps into the world of theatre

Kunal Khemu, Shreyas Talpade,  Sharman Joshi, Arundhati Nag, Aatish Kapadia, Satish Shah  and Paresh Rawal are among the long list of actors, who have taken part in ICDC during their college days.

Students of NM College performing at the elimination round of ICDC

The inter-collegiate drama competition organised by the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) has successfully honed talented youngsters who went on to achieve success in the theatre, television and film industry.

This year, as the competition enters its 40th year, students from different colleges are waiting with bated breath for the finals. From the 19 entries they have received this year, six have been selected for the finals.

Down memory lane
The first competition was held in 1972, in honour of Prithviraj Kapoor, who had passed away that year. Ramesh Talwar, a committee member of IPTA, who has been associated with ICDC since then, says the one thing that has not changed over the years is the enthusiasm of the youngsters.

"There was a theatre competition from 1952 to 1968 at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. But it had to be stopped because there was a lot of hooting during the performances. Hence, from 1968 to 1972, there was no competition," says Talwar, commenting about ICDC's inception. "In 1972, I spoke to MS Sathyu and Kaifi Azmi and we decided to start a competition to encourage youngsters. I presented a draft of rules to the committee and the first ICDC was held. From then on, every year we were joined at IPTA by youngsters who have been part of the competition," adds Talwar.

The number of entries also increased year-by-year. Subhash Dangayach, who had participated in the first competition, joined Talwar soon after. "In 1972, I represented NM College at the competition and the play was directed by Mukesh Khanna. We were newcomers and would visit the temple before heading to the theatre.

Then, we were locked up in the green room till our performance, so that no one would rag us," reminisces Dandayach. "Of course, these days things have changed," he adds. According to him, there is more of a technical finesse these days and more help from IPTA for erecting stages and sets.

Now and then
MS Sathyu, who is today a patron of IPTA, was a judge at the first competition in 1972. "The one thing that differentiates IPTA from other theatre groups is its democratic nature. Most groups are dependant on one personality. This is a unique example of people's theatre," he says.

The themes that students perform on are becoming more and more current, feels Nivedita Baunthiyal, the general secretary of IPTA. "We are seeing a lot of plays on social issues such as women's empowerment and corruption. Even historical themes are being converted to fit into today's context," she adds.

There is tremendous enthusiasm associated with ICDC among actors and students alike. According to Baunthiyal, it is one of the most important events for college students and IPTA members are bombarded with calls months before the announcement.

"It is like a festival for which we start preparing about six months in advance. And the people working for ICDC each year work like it's their daughter's wedding," concludes Talwar with a laugh.

On: September 23, 2 pm onwards
At: Tejpal Auditorium, Gowalia Tank, August Kranti Marg, Grant Road.
Call: 23802679
Entry: Rs 150