A platform for original screenwriting

Updated: Aug 18, 2019, 08:31 IST | A correspondent

In its third edition, Sanhita Manch, by actors Rasika Agashe and Zeeshan Ayyub, brings together four new plays

A platform for original screenwriting
A scene from Adhyat Mi, Sadhyat Tu

The jury of Sanhita Manch, the theatre festival headed by Rasika Agashe and Zeeshan Ayyub, had to go through 77 Hindi and 75 Marathi scripts this year to shortlist four. These include Radhey, inspired by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar's classic poem Rashmirathi and set in the last two days of Karna's life; Kabab, about greed, corruption and capitalism, linked to the MRP of a kebab; Romeo Juliet in Smart Cities of Contemporary India, a love story based in the suburbs; and Adhyat Mi, Sadhyat Tu, which explores death, fate and the role of government in the two.

The festival is aimed at encouraging new scripts, about which Agashe says, "As an actor and director, I always want to do a new play and live with new scripts. In 2017, we were searching for a script, so I thought of a competition. The response was tremendous. Around 80 scripts, and many were good." The duo shared them with like-minded directors, and an idea became a festival. Ayyub says, "As a theatre group, such activities give us a push. For the festival, I work as an acting trainer and producer. It feels good to produce many plays at a time around the country."

Rasika Agashe and Zeeshan Ayyub
Rasika Agashe and Zeeshan Ayyub

The final four tackled subjects as different as chalk and cheese. Agashe says, "This year, we've received very interesting plays. Kabab has the fragrance of mob lynching, Radhey has an interesting take on mythology, and Romeo-Juliet talks about practical, contemporary problems of love. There were many plays, which did not get selected, but talked about very interesting topics such as dialectical materialism." Over the years, the festival has had a mixed reception. Agashe says, "My first year's play, Sat Bhashe Raidas, and one play from the second year are still running in theatres at least once a month. Others have not had much luck, but it's mostly because I'm a Marathi actor-director, and I am trying to run our experimental group like a Marathi commercial group."

When: August 23 – 25
Where: PL Deshpande Auditorium, Prabhadevi; 24365990
Entry: Season pass for Rs 550
To book: bookmyshow.com

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