The festival will open with a performance of Awagha Rang Ekachi Zaala (Marathi), directed by Ashok Samel. Awagha Rang Ekachi Zala depicts the story of Appa Velankar, a well-known kirtankaar, and his family. It also highlights the rich culture and music of the kirtan form as juxtaposed against the current musical trend.
The Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM) was started a decade ago by the NSD in order to contribute to the growth and development of theatre across the country. The National School of Drama started its annual festival by showcasing plays performed by Indian theatre practitioners, and the same has grown into an international event, catering to theatre companies from around the world. It is today acknowledged as the largest theatre festival of Asia dedicated only to theatre and is firmly established on the international theatre festival map.
In Delhi, the festival will feature 63 productions, out of which 51 are from India and 12 are overseas plays, over a span of 12 days. As done in past few years the 11th Bharat Rang Mahotsav will also be showcased in lucknow this year. This year 18 of the productions will travel there for the BRM Festival scheduled from January 11 to 19, 2009.
The NSD, in its effort to nurture talent and encourage upcoming directors, has focused on the productions by young directors. Plays included in the festival are collaborative works, based on rich texts, adaptations and also plays developed through training and workshops. The Festival also includes a work advised by the theatre legend Badal Sircar which is one of the most important classics by Tagore; Rakto Korobi.
A remake of the everlasting love story of Laila Majnu by the famous theatre director Ram Gopal Bajaj is a part of the upcoming festival and also the play is selected to be the inaugural play for the BRM Festival in Lucknow.
With seven venues presenting five to six productions per day through the duration of the festival in Delhi and two venues presenting the productions over a period of 9 days in Lucknow, the NSD will play host about 2,000 theatre people as its participants. As in the past, the festival shows are expected to run to full houses, attracting over 50,000 spectators in Delhi and about 10,000 viewers in Lucknow.
To design, mount and coordinate a festival of this size in two cities in such a short span of time involves a logistical feat that the NSD manages with lan because of its highly trained technical personnel, faculty and staff and the commitment they bring to the cause of theatre worldwide.