For music, theatre, dance and other art form enthusiasts in areas such as Kothrud, Paud Road and Karve Road, there isn’t a better location than Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha (YCN) to unwind and soak in art and cultural activities.
However, they had been left high and dry since January this year when the auditorium was shut for the renovation work. Their wait got over only on Friday when the PMC-run auditorium reopened.
Started in 2000, this was the first renovation work for the auditorium, after a gap of 15 years.
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Some of the other PMC-run auditoriums are Balgandharva Rangmandir, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Sanskruti Bhavan, Bhimsen Joshi Sabhagruha and Annabhau Sathe Auditorium. “Generally, the PMC-run auditoriums undergo renovation after every 10 years. We delayed in this case because the condition wasn’t bad, as it was launched in the year 2000 only,” said Rajendra Raut, superintendent engineer, building department, PMC. Raut said the entire renovation work cost Rs 1 crore.
Manjiri Kulkarni, a resident of Kothrud and a banker by profession, is elated with the reopening of the auditorium. “For the past several years, my husband and I have been visiting YCN almost every weekend to watch a Marathi play. We had been missing it for the last few months. We are so glad it has reopened now,” says Kulkarni.
The material and covers of all the 893 seats in the auditorium have been replaced with new ones. While the interior walls and ceiling of the building don a new look with a fresh coat of paint, the acoustic panels that were in bad condition have been replaced. The gangway has been given polyethylene treatment that makes the floor non-slippery. The doors as well as the stage have been polished for durability.
Raut said the number of toilets have been doubled, from 12 to 24. “In addition to the green room, the passage area near the canteen too has been painted, including the walls as well as the false ceiling.
Bharat Kumawat, chief manager of the auditorium, said that venue mostly showcased art and cultural events, besides political events and felicitation ceremonies occasionally. He said even the parking space, which was inadequate earlier, had been increased and could now house around 60 four-wheelers and 125 two-wheelers.
Currently, the construction work of a mini-theatre, Balasaheb Thackeray Kalamandir, is underway at the premises of the auditorium.
“It is being built in 400 sq ft area and will be used for smaller events that will have lesser capacity as far as the number of audience is concerned. Presently, the work is at a primary stage and will take another three years to complete,” said Raut.