Reality theatre sweeps Mahindra excellence awards

New Delhi: An 80-minute reality play in English, ‘The Interview’, directed by Akarsh Khurana, swept the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre awards at a glittering awards ceremony in the capital.

The doyen of the contemporary Indian stage, Badal Sircar, known for his Bengali plays, was honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to growth and innovation in theatre post independence. The function was held late Tuesday at the Taj Mansingh Hotel.

"The Interview", presented by Akvarious Productions and Le Chayim Productions about a young man appearing for an unique and life-challenging interview, won the best lead actor (male), best supporting actor (male) and best stage design award.

A Marathi play, "Tichee 17 Prakarne" (Seventeen Scenarios of Her Life), won the best director`s award and award for best ensemble. It is a piece that portrays the abstract of a woman "who may or may not be an international terrorist" and who is as common as a person staying next door. The play is an incisive comment on the current socio-economic scenario of terror.

The 150-minute play was directed by Alok Rajwade, Nipun Dharmadhikari, Sarang Sathaye and Varun Narvekar.

Actress Ahlam Khan in the play "Aaj Rang Hai" and Trimala Adhikari in "Mamtaz Bhai Patangwale" bagged the award for the best lead female actress and best supporting female actress for their performances. Buddha Chingtham of the "The Mythical Surrender", a play based on the military combing operations conducted as counter-insurgency measures in the northeastern region of the country, was adjudged the best ensemble.

The play also won the best choreography and best innovative sound award. A Hindi play, "Aaj Rang Hai", won the award for best costume while "Tichee 17 Prakarne" bagged the award for best lights.

Commenting on the awards on the sidelines of the ceremony, Roma Balwani, senior vice president of corporate communication of the Mahindra Group, said the awards have evolved over the years.

"We have been looking at the whole domain of classical and contemporary theatre. This year, the spotlight was on contemporary theatre. When we started six years ago, theatre as a genre was being relegated to a place in culture where it was losing recognition. The festival has contributed to bringing theatre back to the mainstream," Balwani told IANS.

She said the group was trying to support culture in a holistic way. "We host a festival in Lucknow in memory of (industrialist) Anand Mahindra`s mother that showcases every aspect of culture," she said.


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