Plays reflecting contemporary issues vie for prestigious awards

New Delhi, Feb 9 : Ten provoking plays, themed on compelling issues of contemporary interest, ranging from corporate insecurities and prevalent socio-cultural divides to Indian mythology and troubles of the fast-paced modern times, have been shortlisted from over 300 entries for the 12th edition of Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META).

The shortlisted plays will be staged in the capital between March 4 and 9. The entries were vetted by a discerning selection committee comprising eminent theatre practitioners Arundhati Raja, Deepa Punjani, Deepan Sivaraman, Danish Husain and Debesh Chatterjee, the organisers said.

Jointly promoted by the Mahindra Group as part of its cultural outreach, and Teamwork Arts, META has emerged among the most respected events for theatre enthusiasts and professionals across the country in recent years.

Recognising the sheer diversity of cultural identities and languages represented in Indian theatre, the 10 plays are in Bengali, Malayalam, Rajasthani and Kannada, along with Hindi and English.

“It is great to see the diversity and vibrancy that is reflective of contemporary theatre in India,” Festival producer Sanjoy K. Roy said of the shortlisted works.

“From comedy to musicals, religious and socio-cultural issues to contemporary reinterpretations of India’s rich mythological texts, these productions bring alive the complexities that are representative of the subcontinent,” he added.

The selected works highlight India’s vibrant theatre scene and come from places as diverse as Kota, Patna, Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Bengaluru and Kolkata, indicating the passion for and practice of theatre as a significant art form across all regions of the country, the organisers said.

The 10 plays competing for the 14 awards at stake are: “Awdya Shesh Rajani” (Bengali/directed by Bratya Basu), “Bhima” (English-Malayalam/Anitha Santhanam), “Dhumrapaan” (English-Hindi/Akarsh Khurana), “Elephant In The Room” (English/Yuki Ellias, “I Don’t Like It As You Like It” (English/Rajat Kapoor) “Kaali Naadakam” (Malayalam/Chandradasan), “Katha Sukavi Suryamall Ki” (Multilingual/Rajendra Panchal; “Lassanwala” (Hindi-Khadi Boli/Hemant Pandey), “Mahabharata” (English-Hindi-Kannada/Anurupa Roy) and “Outcaste” (Hindi/Randhir Kumar).

The awards are for the Best Play, Best Director, Lifetime Achievement award, Best Stage Design, Best Light Design, Best Innovative Sound Design, Best Costume Design, Best Actor in a Lead Role (Male), Best Actor in a Lead Role (Female), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female), Best Original Script, Best Ensemble, Best Choreographer.

“Mahabharata” and “Outcaste” have received the maximum nominations from the selection committee and will compete across seven categories each.

“We herald the 12th META with a sense of gratitude to India’s theatre community for making the awards their own. Over 300 entries received consistently over the past few years shows the interest and faith theatre groups have placed on this effort by the Mahindra Group. We are excited to see and celebrate the final nominations in early March,” said Jay Shah, Head, Cultural Outreach, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd.

Theatre enthusiasts can view the nominated productions staged live for the jury during the META Festival in Delhi at Kamani Auditorium, Little Theatre Group (LTG) and Sri Ram Centre from March 4 to March 9.

The META Red Carpet Awards Night for is scheduled to be held here on March 10.


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