In India, movie watching is still the main form of visual entertainment, however, theatre has picked up over the years, due to the contribution of noteworthy personalities in this space. As compared to how it is practised in foreign countries, Indian theatre has a long way to go, but it is picking pace and moving away from the influence of Bollywood. Today, there are several theatre festivals held across the country.
The popular ones are the Prithvi festival in Mumbai and the Rang Mahotsav in Delhi. And then there is the Veenapani Festival in Puducherry – a name that too many people may not be familiar with, but one that is equally renowned, and has made a mark in the country since its inception in 2015.
Organized by the Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts and Research, the Veenapani Festival celebrates the contribution of its founder, the late Veenapani Chawla, towards the performing arts community. A visionary and an energetic spirit committed to excellence, Veenapani invested 25 years of time and effort to create an ideal space that welcomes artists from across cultures to realise their creative aspirations. The theatre group was set up in 1962 as a multidisciplinary performance company to promote contemporary performances using traditional disciplines. Adishakti hosts workshops and productions that reach across geographies and genres, and currently is running a campaign
– Remembering Veerapani Festival 2017 – to support the initiative and help raise funds.
But why does a well-established creative arts company need this help? As we all know, theatre does not pay well and when putting together an enactment, there is always a shortage of financial resources. The artists involved with the festival don’t use the money for personal growth, but towards taking their mentor’s dream forward. The festivals were started in 2015 as a fundraising initiative, and its last two editions received generous contributions from friends and donors. For its third edition, the company has curated 13 shows spread across theatre, dance and music, slated for February 2017.
I have been part of Adishakti theatre workshop which was a life changing experience for me. I am more than happy to make my contribution however little it is for now. – Sakshi Chaturvedi
Theatre buffs should definitely attend the festival and support the project. A passion for theatre, a noble cause and exciting merchandise – reasons enough to be a part of the cause!