Bharat Natya Mandir,one of the oldest institutes in the city,is planning to digitise rare books and manuscripts that have been preserved in its library for decades,besides creating an audio library of musicals currently in the form of cassettes. The library boasts housing around 10,000 books. Some of them are almost a century old and do not have a second copy in the market. For instance,Vishiptrao by Waman Govind Kale is 108 years old and another rare work at the library Panipatcha Dudaivi Mohra is a historical play written in 1898.
The institute also possesses old photographs and recordings of old musical plays.
Of the 10,000 books,5,000 are on Marathi drama,and 2,500 on one-act plays. About 1,500 are reference books and over 500 are on English and Hindi drama.
Of the 5,000 books on Marathi drama,we will only be digitising those that are very old and are not available in the market, said Rajeev Paranjape,a member of Bharat Natya Mandir,who has been associated with the institute for three decades now. For maintaining records,and classify all the books in the library in a systematic manner,the management has already begun the work of bar-coding books.
Books on Marathi drama at the library include Swayamvar,Maan-Apmaan,Sharda,and Sanshay-Kallol to name a few. A number of students,researching on Marathi drama,regularly visit our library. We have books by renowned Marathi dramatists like Krushnaji Prabhakar,Annasaheb Kirloskar,Shripad Krushna Kolhatkar,Veer Vamanrao Joshi and so on, said Mohan Mule,the librarian.
The institute has already started work on audio and video library that will include works by Jaimala Sheledar,Chhota Gandharva,Shanta Modak to name a few. All the plays that will be included in the audio library are the ones that were performed here after 1960s, added Paranjape.
Founded in 1894,the Bharat Natya Mandir library also houses a few diaries written by several play enthusiasts,associated with the institute around 80 years back.