Saturday, 27 February 2016

An artist without ego

By G. Sundari

Years ago, I recall my father returning after witnessing an arangetram and telling my mother: "This girl will make her mark as a Bharatanatyam dancer." The following week, the girl's picture adorned the cover of the weekly Kalki, which carried  a review of Kalanidhi's arangetram.

Kalanidhi was one of those rare individuals who are devoid of the temperament we usually associate with artists. She was by nature, a friendly person. She used to visit our house in the Theosophical Society when Peria Sarada was alive. Sarada always requested her to sing a padam of her choice. Both of them had a vast repertoire, and Kalanidhi sang beautifully.

Once when Sarada asked Kalanidhi to do abhinaya for a song without sringara,  Kalanidhi's depiction of a song of devotion and bhakti was admirable. My regret is that I failed to record these friendly meetings of two great artists.

Though she became so famous, Kalanidhi did not have even an iota of ego. It was a rare trait. In her passing away I have lost a good and worthy friend who could appreciate others wholeheartedly.


A treasure trove of abhimnaya

By Sujatha Vijayaraghavan

Was it clairvoyance when they named her Kalanidhi, 'Treasure of Art'? 

If Bala, Kamala and Rukmini Devi brought about the renaissance of Bharatanatyam in the 1940s, Kalanidhi Narayanan was the sole driving force behind the revival of abhinaya in the 1970s.

It was an incredible comeback after a hiatus of more than thirty years after she gave up dance altogether. She picked up effortlessly where she left off. Soon students of several gurus gravitated towards her to be let into the secret of the art of abhinaya. "Mami", as she was called by all who knew her, revolutionised the approach to abhinaya. Students and senior artists of various classical styles in India and abroad trained with her to learn and enrich their art.

She did not stop with what she had learnt. With zeal and passion she went in search of padams, javalis, compositions that served as a fertile ground for her imagination and creativity and swelled the coffers of her repertoire. 

Natyarangam, the dance wing of the Narada Gana Sabha, had a close association with her over the years when she was always available to help further the cause of dance. Her unfailing presence in the front row was an encouragement to every dancer, whom she gave candid feedback if asked.  She gave lecture demonstrations, officiated as a judge in the competitions and attended all its activities over the years. Natyarangam was proud to bestow upon her its annual award for a guru.

She came as a faculty member more than once to the early dance camps organised at Thennangur. A memorable moment was a decade ago, when she danced spontaneously, unmindful of the unpaved prakaram strewn with stones and thorns, to Krishna nee begane baro sung by Geetha Raja, another faculty member.

It was at the camp that we could witness at close quarters how she had evolved a methodology to impart the intangible to inexperienced young dancers. They were  not expected to just copy what she did. She broke each aspect into different components, teaching it, rather dinning it into the nervous participants. A whole hour was spent in the use of the eye movement. To take the gaze in a steady arc from left to right without losing the emotion half way, was a highly taxing exercise that yielded incredible results. 

Mami introduced a strong and sharp awareness of the lyrics, the music that went with it, and the context which was the backdrop of every composition. Abhinaya is said to unfold in three progressive stages: padartha – the verbal interpretation, vakyartha – the depiction of the whole line and the dhvani  – the evocative multilayered interpretation that is the essence, the rasa of abhinaya. With Kalanidhi mami the third level was reached even at the first level stage. For instance, the first invocatory sloka Mooshika vahana taught by her, implied at the very outset the amused wonder at the incongruousness of the tiny mouse and the large figure of Ganesa riding on it, without descending to caricature and with the undercurrent of reverence intact. 

Kalanidhi was a hard taskmaster, as she polished and perfected the bodily manifestation of the shades of emotions she had infused the mind with. Nothing overdone, nothing dramatised, it was 'drisya kavya', visual poetry. Her lasting contribution as a guru to the art was to make a whole generation of dancers alive to the magic of creativity in the most challenging aspect of dance.

(An abridged version of the article appeared in The Hindu dated 26-2-2016 )

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The oldest vocalist is no more

By Shrinkhla Sahai


The veteran vocalist, Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan passed away on 18 February, 2016, at the age of 107. He left behind a rich legacy of music, musings and memories.

When I first met him a few years ago at his residence in Kolkata, I was simply overwhelmed by the fact that he was more than a hundred years old. I wondered what it would be like to see eras pass by like changing seasons, which part of the last century was his heart anchored in, and what would the fading memory still hold dear. The tall expanse of a hundred years was cut short by the tiny stature of Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan as he was carried into the room by his disciples. It was my first brush with living history, infinite wisdom and incomparable experience.

He eyed me rather suspiciously and finally asked sharply, “What do you want?”

I looked unsteadily at his disciple for help. He tried to explain that I wanted to interview him. I had been warned that he could be moody, but I wasn’t prepared for his slicing stare. I ventured, “I want to know about your life, your music, your thoughts on the changing scenario.”

I was cut short as he leaned forward and asked pointedly, “Do you know anything about music?”

“A little,” I replied sheepishly, “But I love the khayal genre and I want to know more. I would also like to know about Rasan Piya.”

I could see him softening up at the sound of his pen-name. Though known primarily as a vocalist, Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan was also a prolific composer, with many compositions under the nom-de-plume Rasan Piya.

He attributed his interest in composition to his ancestor, Ustad Chand Khan, who was fluent in Brajbhasha and wrote several thumris. Hailing from the legacy of Miyan Tansen through his second son Suratsen, Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan was an expert in the nuances of the full-throated ashtang gayaki (eight-fold style vocalism) of the Gwalior gharana.

“I have spent my entire life doing music. But I still know only a bit about it,” he said with a chuckle. His Socratic reply put me at ease. In the course of our conversation I realised that humility and humour were his hallmark.

He held out his clipped fingers, “They tried to poison me. My fingers died. My voice almost vanished. But I didn’t stop singing.” This one statement condensed the driving force of his life, his passion for music and his undying conviction. At his performance in Delhi last year, I sensed the same spirited devotion to the art and the determination to bounce back. A severe coughing bout on stage in the middle of a composition almost knocked him out as he fell backward. Stunned silence from the audience and his disciples was broken enthusiastically by the musician as he belted out another set of thunderous taans, totally unfazed by his failing health.

His foray into music was also defined by the same undaunted focus. He narrated a ‘tragic turning point’ when his elder cousin Babban Khan had gone for a mehfil, “I was also with him and when he was performing I just couldn’t contain myself and started singing along with him. I was scolded severely and told not to ‘ruin the music.’ At that time, I would have preferred to have been shot in the heart rather than listen to those insulting words. I decided I would learn and study music and then show my potential. My taleem went on for 22 years.” His father (Ustad Chand Yusuf Khan) had sent him to train in stitching clothes as he did not see any musical potential in the boy. But eventually his son’s strong desire to follow the path of music managed to dent his disappointment as he took charge of his musical training.

Khan sahib had an uncanny ability to morph into the mood of the moment. His features transformed into child-like reverence at the memory of being complimented by the charismatic Ustad Faiyaz Khan at the All India Radio studio as a young boy. He also recalled with vehemence the attack on him during his days as the court musician.

Recalling the days of royal patronage, he described the frequent competitions between musicians who improvised and used their musical virtuosity to defeat their rivals. “My competitor knew he would never be able to win. Somehow he gained  access to the place where I was staying and had my food poisoned.”

Adventurous tales of the royal court days merged into inconsolable nostalgia for a world fast fading into history, “There are many people  who sing well, but for music to be effective, it must have ‘asar’, ‘taseer’,  to touch the listener. That has become rare. For that you need the blessings of your guru, sensitivity towards the world and sincerity towards your art.”

With over two decades as a guru at ITC Sangeet Research Academy, he had a large number of students who affectionately called him ‘Baba’. 

As another name joins the annals of music history, we shall remember the twinkle in the eye, the trembling hands and the steady voice; a century of strength and song that lies silent now.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Singer Talat Aziz’s 1st ghazal single ‘Wo Sham’ released by Artist Aloud

Mumbai, February 2016: Ghazal lovers are in for a treat as singer Talat Aziz presents his latest single ‘Wo Sham’. The nostalgic themed track is about unfulfilled love where the lover is reminiscing some romantic moments and yearning for his lost love. This latest offering from the ghazal maestro is now available on Artist Aloud, primarily a distribution platform for independent talent and content. The soulful voice of Talat Aziz and the soothing music will make the listeners ruminate on some nostalgic moments.

‘Wo Sham’ is not a typical romantic poetic expression but is much deeper. The music has been arranged and programmed in a contemporary style yet retains the ethos and flavour of the poetry. The enchanting music has been composed by Talat Aziz himself, programmed by Raju Shankar and supervised by Jeetu Shankar who have worked with Talat Aziz for more than two and a half decades. This beautiful ghazal has been written by aspiring poet Gul Rukh Khan who hails from a Nawabi family and has keen interest and love for Urdu.

Talking about his latest ghazal Talat Aziz said, “The romantic soulful ghazal aptly embodies unrequited love. In melody what strikes a chord are expressions of bitter-sweet love, ‘Wo Shaam’ is the best expression of such wistful emotion. I personally feel that all songs which have a yearning, be it film or any genre specially the ghazal which itself means speaking to your beloved have a very long life.”

The song is currently available on Artist Aloud, Hungama, iTunes India and iTunes International.

Immerse yourself in soulful ghazal of Talat Aziz on and hear it first on -

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Of Memory, Mortality and Morality

By Shrinkhla Sahai

The last week of the 18th Bharat Rang Mahotsav in Delhi opened amid controversy. The Polish play Sońka was staged in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, last Friday as part of the travelling BRM festival. It received flak from the culture ministry, and led to questioning of the NSD for permitting a semi-nude scene in the play. In fact, the play also faced the threat of being banned altogether from being performed at its next scheduled venue in New Delhi. 

Written by Ignacy Karpowicz and directed by Agnieszka Korytkowska-Mazur, the play delves into a mode of documentary theatre, termed as ‘theatre of memory’, and chronicles the life of a Belarusian woman who falls in love with a Nazi soldier during the Second World War. Many years later, Igor, a theatre director, coincidentally meets her on the Polish-Belarusian border and as their conversation weaves through anecdotal accounts and historic undercurrents, Igor creates a play out of the old woman’s memoirs. 

Despite the language barrier, the dramaturgy and nuanced performances were deeply moving and the play received a standing ovation. Stage movement, costumes, light design worked in cohesion to re-create war time from different vantage points, punctuated by the contemporary reality and play-making exercise. Using video projections and other visual motifs at strategic points was interesting. The live music was simple and profound, consisting of the accordion, percussion through vessels and other props, and vocals (by Dorota Bialkowska who also plays the dog Borbus). 

The play effectively combines the pointedly political and the deeply emotional. On one hand it examines the history of Eastern Poland, on the other hand it enchants with poetic exploration of relationships. Issues of memory, history and representation are juxtaposed to a narrative of young love and blind passion. Sońka asks Igor, “What makes us fall in love with someone, do you know? Neither do I.” Self-reflexivity runs through the play as a unifying trope. While Sońka, in her old age, reflects fleetingly on whether she really loved the soldier Joachim, or was in love with an illusion of him that she created in her head, and whether she should have loved her husband Misza more; Igor grapples with the exasperation of not having the power to control the characters and their destiny in his play since the story has already played out in reality, and he was not there to direct the flow of ‘real’ events. 

Returning to the flow of events that played out in the staging of the play in India, the NSD responded to the inquiry initiated by the state culture ministerand other officials by ascribing the nudity to wardrobe malfunction. In the performance in Delhi, the play was crudely interrupted during this particular scene. ‘Nudity’ was carefully avoided alongwith a footnote by the actor who plays Igor, announcing in English, “It is important at this point to explain this scene.” Much like a theatre studies class, he went on to say that the scene depicted the violent punishment meted out to the character Sonia (young Sońka played by Svietlana Anikiej) for flouting social norms and for falling in love with the wrong man (the Nazi soldier). He explained that her social ostracism involved stripping her naked, rape and the inscription of the Nazi symbol on her forehead as a mark of dishonour. Ironically, recently there have been many instances in India where rape as punishment, and stripping and parading naked have continued to be used as forms of social humiliation and punitive-corrective violence. The incidents in Jagatsinghpur (2015), Mayurbhanj (2014) and Rourkela (2013)are a few examples from Odisha, of a Pan-India socio-cultural problem. One wonders why these real incidents have not offended cultural values, generated cultural activism, inquiry and agitation from the same quarters whose cultural sentiments get hurt by theatrical representation through ‘nudity’.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Mumbai Seminar – a report

By Meena Banerjee

History proves that society and art forms can never live insulated, independent lives. If society has a huge bearing on shaping the character of arts, the arts’ journey actually reflects the social trends of each era it has traversed so far. More so in India; simply because the traditional philosophy of the land is totally focused on individual character building which is supposed to transcend human frailties and inculcate divinity, especially through arts! And music tops the chart; because it uses ether and its sound-waves as its canvas and as such directly connects the microcosmic with the macrocosmic world. All this and much more are discussed in Natyashastra by Bharata Muni and according to this ‘Pancham Veda’ tradition and change go hand in hand; because that is natural and that is how traditions live through ages.

But how to handle the barrage of changing values at a supersonic pace in a democratic country like India where everything is democratized including classical music? Probably this inspired two back-to-back seminars organised by ITC Sangeet Research Academy (West) in collaboration with Indian Musicological Society, Music Forum and National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) at the latter’s famous Mumbai address (29-31 January, 2016). The Sangeet Natak Akademi, under the stewardship of its Chairman Shekhar Sen who is a renowned actor-singer, also joined hands in organizing this edifying event and very effectively portrayed the role of the Akademi through his witty speech, further supported by a film titled ‘Contributing to the musical legacy of India’.

The first seminar delved deep in the ‘Comparative role and relevance of Sarangi and Carnatic Violin’. It featured two top ranking instrumentalists - sarangi maestro Dhruba Ghosh and violin vidwan Sriram Parasuram, who are delightful speakers as well. According to them even a traditional Indian folk instrument like sarangi has to go through modifications to suit the ever evolving Hindustani classical music; what to say of violin, a Western instrument! Their solo and duet recitals injected a fair quotient of soulful melodic beauty in the technical discussions but as a learned practitioner of Hindustani classical music which still adheres to the time-scale theory, Ghosh could do better by avoiding late evening ragas at noon as he is capable enough to create the same magic with the two Madhyams of Shuddh Sarang or some other ragas belonging to this time-slot.

The second seminar on ‘Changing profile of Indian music’ was actually a follow-up of a similar one held some years back; but which is constantly evolving. In the last session Ustad Zakir Hussain, Carnatic vocalist and Akademi’s vise-chairperson Aruna Sairam, celeb writer-poet Javed Akhtar and Shekhar Sen were engaged in a candid conversation expertly moderated by Pandit Arvind Parikh. The crux of the seminar emerged out loud- and-clear on various issues and in general all agreed that tradition should welcome change with changing times; it always did; it always will. But the fast pace of its advent in this era of tumults needs to be addressed judiciously.

And yet the individual takes on the subject were, quite understandably, very different. It was surprising that no one, except Shekhar Sen, referred to the scientific doctrines of Natyashastra as the root of all futuristic steps. Even Ustad Zakir Hussain sounded skeptical about the ‘purity’ of the tradition handed down to him by his ancestors! According to him ‘purity is that which allows you to think and innovate.’ Javed Akhtar suggested to do away with elaborate raga presentations to be able to keep pace with the modern times and to woo the younger generation. Aruna Sairam was happy that the middle path adopted by the Carnatic music organisers is fetching good results as it allows both: the traditional four-hour concerts and their abbreviated, thrilling versions.

Spread over two days, the seminar saw active participations of not only a host of practicing musicians and learned musicologists like dhrupad exponents Ritwick Sanyal and Prashant Mullick; khayal exponent Ashwini Bhide, instrumentalists Ronu Majumdar (flute), Purbayan Chatterjee (sitar), Taufiq Qureshi (percussionist), U Rajesh (mandolin), Satish Vyas (santoor), Sunanda Sharma (thumri), Tushar Bhatia (film-music) but opinion-makers from all walks of life including social media (represented by a dashing young technocrat Mathivanan Rajendran), recording companies (Navras Records (London), Hindustan Records (Kolkata), Times Music and Sony Music (Mumbai)), music educationists and promoter-propagators like universities, ITC SRA and Sangeet Natak Akademi and connoisseurs, represented by Vinod Kapur (Delhi), Chandra Pai (Pune), Jayanta Chatterjee (Kolkata) and Gowri Ramnarayan (Chennai).

Some were despondent; some came up with optimistic ideas based on tradition while some went all out for exploring new vistas to create something new. All the connoisseurs agreed on one point that classical music cannot be brought down to the lowest denominators for the sake of earning money and that is why they prefer to organize chamber concerts with limited audience who guarantee listenership of some standards. Gowri Ramnarayan’s unique idea of organizing concerts sans microphones, obviously, demands better ears with due respect for the canvas of silence on which the melodic lines etch the portrait of ragas.

But since the role of corporate sector is becoming important by the day, the issue of sensitization was evaluated by most of the participants, goaded by erudite moderators like Arvind Parikh, Vidyadhar Vyas, Ganesh Kumar, Shashi Vyas and Snehal Majumdar. Among them Javed Akhtar went all out to catch children at their impressionable age and teaching them music by adopting interesting modern techniques. Shekhar Sen went a step further when he said, “When we learnt ‘Vaishnav jana toh’ we didn’t know it is in Gujrati or ‘Vande Mataram’ is in Sanskrit, but absorbed the essence of the multihued culture of our country. SNA’s proposal to primary schools is: teach five songs in regional languages, three dramas and two folk dances. All the children will not be artistes; one may sing, the rest will be sensitized as good listeners.”


To pay tribute to the legendary ghazal queen Begham Akhtar on her birth centenary, a documentary film on her life, studded with her immortal ghazals, was produced by SNA. The screening of the film as the penultimate presentation of this annual meet evoked such nostalgia that was powerful enough to wrench hearts. However, it could do better by including Begham-sahiba’s most erudite disciple Padmashri Rita Ganguli’s assessment of her ‘Ammi’.


Acknowledgement of music-related works in every arena through awards and felicitations is another heartwarming feature of this much awaited annual event. This year the lifetime achievement award, instituted by Mahindra Finance, was bestowed on Padmabhushan awardee violinist Prof TN Krishnan. Speaking on the occasion the octogenarian maestro confessed, ‘My father had told me that if I practice twenty hours a day for at least twenty years, I may master the instrument; but after 75 years I am still pursuing the mastery.’ 

Padmabhushan Dr N Rajam (violin) and Vidushi Veena Sahasrabuddhe (vocal) were the recipients of ITC SRA Awards. Ustad Faiyaz and Niyaz Ahmed Khan Award (Kirana Gharana) went to Kankana Banerjee (vocal). Dr Suvarnalalta Rao won the Dr Ashok Ranade Memorial Award for extensive research work. Music organisations’ achievement award was bagged by Sharda Sangeet Vidyalaya. Rajesh Laxman Prasad Shukla (M/s Shukla Musicals) bagged the Manohar Muley Award for instrument making. Pakhawaj exponents Prakash Sejwal won Saath Sangat Pravin Award. The Music Forum Awards were given away to Stuttgart-resident Helga Brahme for contribution to the cause of Indian music by overseas-residents, to Gowri Ramnarayan for research and for media excellence to the writer of this report.

Among the winners of AIR Competition, Devashish Pathak (pakhawaj) won Pandit Vasantrao Ghorpadkar Memorial Award. Rohit Dharap (vocal), Anup Kulthe (violin), Bhargavi Venkatram (Carnatic vocal) and Veena Karthik (Carnatic veena) won ITC SRA Awards. Pandit Nikhil Ghosh Memorial Award (tabla) went to Anand Kumar Mishra. Kalyan Majumdar (sitar) won the Ravi Koppikar Memorial Award and Acharya Alauddin Khan Memorial Award was bagged by Nishant Divate (flute). The evening of 30th January saw these young talents giving recitals at the Godrej Dance Academy Theatre, NCPA.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The ‘Doll’ returns home to pose the Women’s Question

By Shrinkhla Sahai

When Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, opened in 1879 in Denmark, it created a furore among the public and a compelling case for the critics. It posed a serious threat to patriarchy by imagining a climax where the woman walks out of her marriage and her husband’s home, leaving her children behind, in search of her own identity. The London premiere was watered down by offering a more benign adaptation and in Germany the climax had to be rewritten to be acceptable for a public performance. A century later, playwright Kamla Kapur’s Kaamiya revisited the questions that A Doll’s House left unanswered, and that still resounded deep and clear in the urban landscape of 1970s India. Why did the woman (Nora/Kaamiya) leave her husband? Where will she go? Will she be accepted by society and be able to create her own identity independent of being the wife/mother? Can an individual challenge gender roles and live life on her own terms?Above all, is being alone better than being lonely within relationships?

The recent performance of the play at the 18th Bharat Rang Mahotsavin Delhi was directed by Ram Gopal Bajaj and presented by the Ank Repertory from Mumbai. The acclaimed director conceived, organised and initiated the first Bharat Rang Mahotsav in 1999.

The play starts off at a promising point with Kaamiya dragging her luggage into her parental home. Not unexpectedly, she is received by an anxious and unsupportive mother. The mother’s conventional outlook and orthodox views are balanced by the eccentric aunt who also left her husband years ago and dithers between triumphant independence and heart-breaking isolation. The play operates on a consistent sense of melancholy, heightened at points by the reference to the younger sister who has been sent off to a mental asylum, the aunt’s fantasy refuge in an old romance, the mother’s attempts at self-importance through her zealous house-cleaning and the father’s silent surrender to ennui.

While the play raises significant questions, it remains in the realm of the rhetoric. The plot lacks movement and makes the pace of the play dreary and repetitive. While Preeta Mathur Thakur (Kaamiya), Aman Gupta (father) and Gunjan Kumar (husband-Murli) seem convincing in their realistic mode of acting, Meena Vaibhav (mother) and Laxmi Rawat (Sarla aunty) present melodramatic caricatures. Despite the deeply emotional and socially relevant theme, the play does not move, entertain or inspire with its text or dramaturgy. The vexed question of motherhood, social acceptance, gender roles, remain superficially patched on to the lives and narratives of the characters.

In Seeing like a Feminist, Nivedita Menon discusses the ‘implosion of marriage’ in Indian society and says, “There is no explanation available for the woman’s unhappiness at her changed state. Can a woman just go back home saying simply – I don’t want to be a wife, I don’t like this job? Forcibly trained from girlhood for marriage and marriage alone, not permitted to dream of any other future, expecting that marriage will be the beginning of their lives, and finding that it is in fact the end of their lives; the frustration and resentment that this situation generates has lead increasingly to what I see as the implosion of marriage – young girls simply refusing to perform the role of the docile wife and daughter-in-law, to the bewilderment and rage of the families into which they marry.”

The play actively investigates this implosion of marriage, but a more nuanced reading of relationships and a layered presentation would perhaps resonate more deeply with our contemporary realities.

Remembering Sruti Pattabhi Raman

A grand vocal concert by Pt. Kaivalya Kumar was organised on 7 February 2016 by Sruti Pattabhi Raman's family in association with Hamsadhwani in Chennai. Tributes were paid to the Founder - Editor of Sruti magazine. A Hindustani vocal concert was presented by well known musician Pt. Kaivalya Kumar who was accompanied by Pt. Abjijit Bannerjee (tabla) and Pt. Satish Kolli (harmonium). Vidwan Sriram Parasuram, well versed in Carnatic an Hindustani music, was the guest of honour.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

National School of Drama’s 18th Bharat Rang Mahotsav inaugurated in the capital

By Shrinkhla Sahai

The much-awaited theatre extravaganza of the year kicked off in the capital on 1 Feb 2016. The National School of Drama’s annual international theatre festival—Bharat Rang Mahotsav is now in its 18th edition. With an exciting line-up of performances from around the globe including USA, Australia, Italy, Sri Lanka, Poland, Bangladesh, Spain, China, Pakistan, Austria as well as theatre groups from various regions of India, the festival promises to be a cultural treat. 

The three-week festival enlivens the cultural centre of the city- Mandi House, with performances across the NSD campus, Kamani auditorium, Shri Ram Centre and LTG auditorium. Each year sees packed houses in an otherwise indifferent theatre audience response of Delhi. 

N.K. Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India inaugurated the festival, congratulating NSD for its immense contribution in taking Indian theatre onto the global map. Eminent film personalities Nana Patekar and Anupam Kher also spoke on the occasion. Being an alumnus of NSD, Kher reminisced about his learning curve and memories at the institution. Waman Kendre, Director, NSD, emphasized the need for thinking through theatre and unraveling the thought behind theatre. He also declared that the theme for the festival this year is ‘Rediscovering the magic of theatre’.

The inaugural ceremony was followed by the performance of Macbeth in Manipuri by Chorus Repertory Theatre, Imphal, Manipur, directed by Ratan Thiyam. One of his masterpiece productions, Macbeth had the signature visual splendour and imaginative appeal that is a signature of the acclaimed director. 

The festival continues till 21 February 2016.

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