If Kala Ghoda can, why can't Rang Bhavan?

Published: Jan 23, 2011, 07:22 IST | Rinkita Gurav

Asks PWD and Tourism Minister Chhagan Bhujbal as the historical town area gets HC nod to hold annual festival next month

Asks PWD and Tourism Minister Chhagan Bhujbal as the historical town area gets HC nod to hold annual festival next month 

The High Court on Thursday gave the Kala Ghoda Festival organisers permission to hold the event next month as long as they comply with silence zone norms. This means that the popular dance shows and music recitals that have traditionally been part of the nine-day festival might go, and the loud speakers most certainly will.

Youth play cricket at a deserted Rangbhavan; PWD & Tourism
minister Chhagan Bhujbal says it should be revived. PIC/ Atul

Encouraged by the decision, Public Works Department and Tourism Minister Chhagan Bhujbal wants to revive open-air theatre, and former venue for musical concerts, Rang Bhavan in Dhobi Talao, saying the place reminds him of his childhood.

Rang Bhavan, which was the venue for many Lavani and Tamasha shows and concerts like the Jazz Yatra and the Independence Day Rock Concert for 19 years, fell silent when the area was declared a silence zone in 2003.

The organisers were ready to soundproof the venue, but were denied permission by the Supreme Court.
Speaking of Rang Bhavan, Bhujbal said, "The place was known for Maharashtrian activities and I remember spending a lot of time there during my high school days. The court needs to rethink (its stand) on it."

"The Kala Ghoda festival should go on, as should other cultural festivals. This promotes tourism. Mumbai is not just a place to eat and roam, it has a lot more to offer on cultural grounds. But we have to follow the laws too," he added.

Rohinton Poonawala, co-organiser of the ID Rock concert said, "It is great that the court has given permission to the Kala Ghoda Festival organisers to go forward. Rang Bhavan area is a silence zone too, but it is the cultural venue of the city. Rock concerts were held there, as were Maharashtrian cultural events."

The Bombay Rock Association has begun an online petition to save the 50 year-old venue. Sujeet Ramana of the association said, "Rang Bhavan was a Mecca for rock fans. Now, the younger generation has little exposure to live music because of such bans."

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