Natyadarpan to unleash theatrical tornado: Halke Phulke

By Indira Laisram
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Melbourne’s theatre scene will once again embody the essence of Indian theatre with a new production Halke Phulke. In what is touted to be a unique experience, a stellar ensemble of 45 gifted actors take centre stage, delivering a series of five remarkable short plays.

This production is the culmination of the Natyadarpan Indian Theatre Academy’s intensive workshops, where the seeds of creativity have been lovingly cultivated in 45 talented actors including 17 young actors under the age of 13.

The workshops commenced in late February and Halke Phulke will be staged on July 8 at Chandler Theatre.

Halke Phulke is a light evening of a bouquet of five plays titled The Portal, Ghar, Basanti Dance Academy, Logout Reboot andSadras Café,” says Mandar Vaidya, who co-founded the academy with few other like-minded people in 2016.

Following a unique approach, instead of auditions, the academy ensured that every participant who expressed a desire to be involved was granted a role. “We believe in inclusivity,” affirms Vaidya.

The creative process too has been a collaborative effort, involving insightful brainstorming sessions with the young actors. Encouraging their imaginative voices, one of the children Saloni proposed a refreshing perspective on monsters, seeking to showcase their inherent goodness. This concept resonated with the entire team and thus was born The Portal.

“The brainstorming sessions with the cast have been truly inspiring, and Saloni has made a superb effort in laying the foundation for the script of The Portal,” says Roy Kossena, its  playwright and director.

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Basanti Dance Academy by Vipin Gaindhar, who has been part of Natyadarpan for over a decade, offers a modern interpretation of Sholay.

Namrata Sharma, a prominent figure in Melbourne’s theatre community, showcases her versatility in the production of Ghar. In addition to directing Ghar, Sharma has also penned the script for Logout and Reboot, which is directed by Vaidya.

Ghar focusses on the crucial role that parents play in their child’s married life. Every marriage has its ups and downs, arguments, and disagreements. On the spur of the moment, we take impulsive decisions, which we may regret later,” reveals Sharma.

Logout and Reboot brings to the audience the aspect of control, which is a difficult thing to give up, especially when the wellbeing of someone you love is potentially at stake. “Using a home camera to monitor your elder parents may provide family members peace of mind, especially if the camera that allows sight to be viewed in real time,” says Sharma, without giving much away.

Sadras Café, written by Saurabh Mishra and Prajakta Kale, is directed by renowned theatre director and upcoming movie star Mouli Ganguly.

“Start with a generous dose of madness and chaos, punch in time tested universal comic genres, adapt to the Indian diaspora with entrepreneurial ambitions, grim inspector raj, thunderous law enforcers and the inevitable singing-dancing lovebirds, and you have bone-tickling, high-octane drama that should keep audiences entertained and laughing all along,” says Ganguly about Sadras Café.

Mishra and Kale have both been involved with amateur Hindi theatre in Melbourne for many years now, taking on different roles such as writing, directing, and acting.

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Vaidya reveals he is introducing a modern experimental theatre this time, where the plays will engage with the audience by invigorating their imagination. “We would like to whisk the audience away from their mundane routines.

“This powerful art form embraces a vital social responsibility, stimulating reflection and introspection, reminding us of our duty to society,” adds Vaidya.

The proceeds from the show will contribute to the noble cause of the Friends of the Children’s Foundation, a not-for-profit charity dedicated to supporting Australian children, helping them build a brighter future.

The academy, through its convergence of Indian theatre’s transformative power and charitable endeavours, hopes it can make a meaningful difference!

Halke Phulke is on at Chandler Theatre on 8 July.


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