Theatre occupies most important place in art forms: Mohan Agashe

New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) Despite the 'phenomenal expansion' of virtual world, theatre occupies the most important place in art forms as it makes viewers aware of what is real and what is not, theatre and film veteran Mohan Agashe said.

'Theatre occupies the most important place in art forms, because in the last few years the expansion of virtual world has been so phenomenal that we have almost forgotten that we are living beings.

'The more technologies come it has created more loneliness than togetherness. Theatre probably is the only art form which makes us aware of what is real and what is virtual,' the psychiatrist-actor said.

Speaking on the inaugural evening of the 21st Bharat Rang Mahotsav, organised by the National School of Drama (NSD), here at Kamani Auditorium on Saturday, Agashe added that the connection developed between theatre actors and the audience also different from the what film-goers experience.

'Those who act on the stage have a connection with the viewers, but the people sitting in a movie hall doesn't feel the same connection with the actors on screen. You don't get that experience on a mobile phone either,' the 72-year-old thespian said.

He added that it was important to experience theatre from early childhood.

'In today's world therefore it has become more important to have this real life experience from early childhood, because if we get exposed to quality theatre as children, we are bound to see living theatre than to see dead virtual art when we grow up,' he said.

The annual theatre festival opened with 'Kusur', a nerve-racking play co-directed and acted by iconic actor Amol Palekar. Starting with 'Panchvadyam', a south Indian devotional composition, the inaugural evening was attended by classical dancer Rita Ganguly, joint secretary - Minister of Culture Nirupama Kotru, and Arjun Deo Charan, acting chairman, NSD Society.

With an aim to promote theatre among the people, NSD will also host the festival in Shillong, Dehradun, Nagpur, Vellupuram and Puducherry.

The national capital will host 73 plays in Hindi, Bengali, Assamese, English, Manipuri, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannad, Marathi, Odiya, Bhojpuri, Maithili, Tamil, Rajasthani, Bundeli, Marathi and non-verbal among other languages.

The festival will also stage ten foreign plays from International productions from countries such as USA, Russia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Czech Republic and Nepal.

Besides the plays, the NSD campus will be abuzz with allied performances which will include street plays, Director-Meet events, Living Legend Master Class and Advitiya (Youth Forum).

The youth forum shows will comprise performances by dramatic societies of nearly 50 colleges in Delhi while ambience performances will involve folk dance and other traditional performing art forms.

The festival will come to a close on February 21. PTI MAH MAH MAH