Kalidas Rangalaya keeps drama alive - Theatre established in 1972 still stages Bhojpuri & Hindi plays

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  • Published 5.08.10

Patna, Aug. 4: Theatre has lost its sheen for sure over the years. But Kalidas Rangalaya has kept drama alive in the city.

Kalidas Rangalaya, located in the Gandhi Maidan area in the heart of the city has so far defied the changing times. Established in 1972, it is one of the oldest surviving art and culture centres of the capital. It still stages drama and dance festivals despite the infrastructure not up to the mark.

At present it is staging dramas organised by a theatre group called Sambodhi Kala Manch. “We have been able to stage plays for the public and give opportunities to playwrights, actors and musicians of Patna to express their art only due to Kalidas Rangalaya,” said Shaktiman Rahi, a local theatre personality.

“Ever since Kalidas Rangalaya theatre came into being, the government had funded Rs 6.5 lakh only, which includes Rs 5 lakh from the state government and Rs 1.5 lakh from the central government,” said P. Ganguly, the assistant secretary of the theatre.

“Like any other theatre in Bihar, we are facing financial problems. Sometimes we get donations from private organisations but for the past 30 years the government did not provide us much support. This year, Steel Authority of India Limited donated Rs 9.5 lakh to our theatre to meet our expenses for hall rent and providing space for hoarding in our compound,” he said.

“Working as an artiste is our hobby not our occupation. It is because we have a genuine love for drama,” said Vikas, a theatre artiste.

Kumar Vikki, one of the stage artistes, said: “We act because it gives us an emotional satisfaction. Most of us realise that it will be silly to take it up as a career.”

Late Sri Anil Kumar Mukherjee founded Kalidas theatre in 1972, and since then P. Ganguly has taken over the reins. “Despite so much talk about Indian culture, most people fail to understand the contribution of theatre,” said Ganguly.

“Our shows are generally based on social issues in Hindi and Bhojpuri languages,” he said, adding that they were getting good response from the audience because their shows were free of cost. Many artistes of this theatre went to Mumbai and got a chance to work in Bollywood specially as technicians.