DUBAI: The sheer mention of Prithvi in Dubai evokes a sense of déjà vu among those from Mumbai – and we’re not talking of just theatre enthusiasts here.
As the legendary theatre company from Mumbai’s Juhu, considered the sanctum sanctorum for performing arts aficionados, actors, producers and playwrights in India, plans a five-day festival at Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, starting April 27, there’s no containing the excitement among its large body of fans.
For the uninitiated, Prithvi Theatre is the performer’s ultimate stage, founded by yesteryear Bollywood star Prithviraj Kapoor in 1944 and later revived by his son Shashi Kapoor and daughter-in-law Jennifer Kapoor. Over 640 plays are enacted here to packed audiences every year.
Prithvi@Dubai, as the annual festival in Dubai has been named, will be hosted by Raging Tiger Events Co and Prithvi Theatre. It hopes to inculcate the Prithvi ideology and culture in Dubai and develop a discerning audience that appreciates the performing arts.
The event will feature performances by such celebrated theatre names as Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar, who have been with Prithvi since its inception.
“The plays that will be staged over the five days will cover a wide spectrum from Tennessee Williams’ modern day tragedy The Glass Menagerie, to the dramatisation of George Bernard Shaw’s secret letters and his romance with Mrs Patrick Campbell, brought alive by the superb repartee between Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak, to Vinay Pathak’s spoof on Shakespeare’s King Lear, for a non-stop 80 minutes, so effortlessly and seamlessly transitions from being a clown to a pathos-filled frustrated father and more,” say the organisers.
Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar’s theatrical rendition of Shaukat Azmi’s memoirs, Kaifi Aur Main, interwoven with ghazals and songs written by Kaifi Azmi, complemented by the beautiful sounds of melancholic violins and rhythmic tablas, is a must watch, they say.
Add to that White Lily and Knight Rider, a black comedy based on modern urban contemporary India where Sonali Kulkarni and Milind Pathak explore the dilemma of redefining conventional man-woman relationships in a digital, internet world.
Prithvi@Dubai will also give audiences a chance to get up close with the actors through stage talks which will be held at a gallery with Prithvi exhibits. To recreate the Prithvi vibe, Ductac will transform itself to capture the essence of the Prithvi Theatre, replete with Cutting Chai, Irish Coffee and ‘vada pavs’.