With Mumbai set to get Maharashtra School of Drama (MSD) by 2018, Pune theatre artistes feel that aspirants, who can’t get through the National School of Drama (NSD) will finally have an an equally-good option in place in the state.
In the Maharashtra State Budget 2017-18, the state government had proposed a Maharashtra School of Drama on the lines of the National School of Drama in Mumbai.
Renowned theatre and film personalities will be appointed as faculties at MSD. The budget and other details for the said institute are yet to be worked out.
Soumitra Gapchup, a Pune-based theatre artiste, who’s been associated with the field from the last 11 years and is part of the group Natak Company, says that it’s a welcome move for many reasons.
“Getting an admission to NSD is not an easy task. So far, those who want to pursue theatre seriously and are not able to find an admission are left with no option. Though there is Lalit Kala Kendra in Mumbai and Pune, it does not offer what the NSD does. If such candidates are able to find a seat in MSD, it will give a huge boost to their career. Another advantage is the proximity of Mumbai to Pune. All the theatre artistes travel to Mumbai frequently so adjusting to the city will not be a problem,” he said.
However, Gapchup added, one also needs to watch out if other things, such as admission process, number of seats, stipend, reservation etc will be at par with NSD or not.
Currently, NSD offers 26 seats, out of which four seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes, 1+1 are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and NT, while seven are reserved for Other Backward Classes and physically-disabled.
The selected candidates get Rs 6,000 as monthly scholarship.
Dhanashree Heblikar of city-based Swatantra Theatre feels that though the theatre culture of Pune is very strong and experimental in nature, artistes do not get an opportunity to showcase their talent to industry veterans. Thus, an institute like MSD, will act as a platform where a healthy exchange of theatre-related knowledge will take place on and off stage.
“An artiste cannot grow unless he/she gets a feedback on his work. Also, Mumbai is closer for Puneites than Delhi,” said Heblikar. In all, he added, it is a much-awaited step in the right direction and the theatre fraternity of Pune is really happy and excited about it.
Abhishek Deshmukh, an architect by education, who turned full-time theatre artiste a few years ago, points out that with Mumbai getting an institute like MSD, other than Pune theatre artistes, even the rural theatre talent from Maharashtra will also benefit.
“Whenever we participate in theatre festivals, we see well-directed and well-performed plays by theatre artistes from places like Jalgaon, Solapur, Nashik, Satara and other smaller cities. They too will get a good platform to showcase and hone their due to MSD under the guidance of experienced artistes of the theatre industry,” he adds.