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A Theatre That Never Goes Dark

Amrish Puri on the steps of Prithvi Theatre (Courtesy: Prithvi Theatre Archive)

Amrish Puri on the steps of Prithvi Theatre (Courtesy: Prithvi Theatre Archive)

By Alaka Sahani 

On November 5, 1978, Prithvi Theatre Workshop opened its doors to the audience for the first time with the theatre group Majma staging the play Udhwast Dharmshala, featuring Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah. “I don’t have memories of the performance but I do remember that for the first time we had a jam-packed house for our show, which was a Hindi adaptation of GP Deshpande’s Marathi play,” recalls Shah.

Till the theatre came up at Janki Kutir in Mumbai, Shah and his fellow theatre practitioners would present their experimental productions to a handful audience at Chhabildas School, a small auditorium at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai, or colleges. Prithvi Theatre, which was built by Jennifer and Shashi Kapoor in memory of thespian Prithviraj Kapoor, tried to change that by creating an audience for theatre by staging a show every night, barring Mondays, as well as giving space to young theatre practitioners. “Prithvi Theatre is probably the only theatre that’s built without the intention of making money. It’s meant to help young theatre people who could not afford any other space to perform,” says Shah.

 
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Credit: indianexpress.com

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