The Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) has challenged the renovation of Ravindra Manch — an old cultural landmark of the city — in a local court. The renovation is being undertaken with assistance from the Union ministry of culture as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore.
IPTA national president and veteran theatre personality Ranbir Singh has sought a stay on the renovation project alleging it was being carried out arbitrarily and would alter the basic architecture of the building, which once used to be the city’s premium cultural hub.
In his petition filed in a civil court here, Singh has alleged that the Ravindra Manch authorities had engaged the services of architects and other professionals with no background in theatre design.
“The new theatre design does not even have provisions for a light-and-sound managment system. Besides, the green rooms are planned in a way that leaves no room for performers to reach the stage,” Singh said.
Ravindra Manch is being renovated under the Union ministry of culture’s Tagore Cultural Complexes scheme, which seeks to upgrade and modernise “the existing Rabindra ‘Bhawans’, ‘Manchs’, ‘Sadans’, ‘Rangshalas’ and other cultural centres” into state-of-the-art cultural complexes.
Singh has alleged that the original upgrade design, which was approved by the National School of Drama — the monitoring agency of the project — have been ignored by the authorities.
However, the Ravindra Manch administration has refuted the allegations.
“The project is being implemented strictly according to government rules. So there is no question of arbitrary action on anyone’s part,” Sovila Mathur, manager, Ravindra Manch told The Indian Express.
Ravindra Manch is one of the several theatre/cultural complexes set up by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru on the occasion of centenary celebrations of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in 1961.
The iconic theatre, where several famous actors including Irrfan Khan, Ila Arun, Om Shivpuri and directors like Bhanu Bharti cut their teeth, used to be the city’s premium cultural hub, but has been facing neglect over the past several years.
The project is being implemented with 60 percent central assistance — ranging from Rs 15 crore to Rs 50 crore in
exceptional cases — with the state government chipping in with the rest.
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