Hindi theatre stage comeback in town, more promotion is needed

Nagpur: In an indication of the increasing popularity of Hindi plays, the ongoing competition for the 51st Maharashtra State Hindi Theater draws a decent response from amateurs of city theatre. As the number of Hindi plays being performed has increased the audience has risen. However, a’ houseful’ tag still seems a distant dream for a Hindi play.

Directors, writers and theater artists all agree that in Nagpur, where Marathi theater is dominant, Hindi theater finds its feet. However, they feel that there is still a lack of good promotion skills in Hindi theatre.

Vaidehi Chawre, the theater fest coordinator, said that although the response is decent, it has not yet been possible for the players to gain a full house. She adds, “The ongoing rivalry for Hindi theatre does not draw anticipated viewers. Perhaps due to the show slots. For example, not everyone is OK with morning shows on weekdays.

“Salim Sheik, a well-known writer, and director who works predominantly in the Marathi theatre, but also dabbles in the Hindi theatre, is pleased to see the number of good Hindi plays being staged in Nagpur increasing. “I believe that in the city there has been an increase in love and respect for Hindi theatre, and Vidarbha at large, since the last few years. There were times when it was a task to chase for a handful of good Hindi plays. Yet, there are plenty of well-written plays there now, “he said.

Agreeing with Sheik, the actor of the theatre, Lalit Ghavghave, believes there are a select few good Hindi plays that are staged, perhaps once a month or so. “Here, the Hindi people carry a Marathi essence too. I believe that Hindi plays should be promoted equally so that the audience enjoys the beauty of quality theatre in both languages, “he said.

However, Virendra Ganvir, whose play also took place in the theater competition, feels that both Hindi and Marathi plays have an equal audience set. “There are fewer people showing up for Hindi plays than the Marathi ones, but if any play carries a good story and acting, it’s always going to outshine,” he said.

There are more factors at play than just the language in promoting Hindi theatre in the city. “Government must choose appropriate timings before planning any Hindi competition at the state level. No one will take leave, during office hours, to watch a play at 12 noon, “Salim Sheik added.

Writer-director Shital Dodke feels that choosing appropriate centers will also promote the smooth staging of these plays, “The plays are usually held at different centers. Despite the increase in viewership, are we gaining enough viewers? For such contests it needs further publicity and an adequate season, “he said.

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