‘Act as facilitator of Marathi art, culture’

Nagpur : “Marathi theatre is pride of Maharashtra. Its greatness can only be judged by people’s views outside Maharashtra. We have a tradition of promoting multilingual theatre groups. Most of these are financially weak and need support to stand on their own stem and proliferate. Government of Maharashtra has been doing its part in promoting such groups by providing theatres at nominal rates. It is now up to various agencies and the people to act as facilitator to help promote theatre movement in a big way,” said Union Minister for Shipping, Surface Transport and Ganga Rejuvination Nitin Gadkari.

He was addressing the gathering comprising, veteran theatre actors, TV serial actors and theatre lovers after the inauguration of the 99th Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Sammelan at the specially erected open air stage named after the legendary theatre personality of Vidarbha, Purushottan Darwhekar, on Friday. Gadkari was head of the reception committee. Seated on the dais were Mayor Nanda Jichkar, inaugurator of the four-day sammelan Prof Mahesh Elkunchwar, President of 98th Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Sammelan Kirti Shiledar, President of 99th Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Sammelan Premanand Gajvi, Dr Girish Gandhi, President of Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Parishad Prasad Kambli.

Declaring the sammelan as inaugurated, Prof Mahesh Elkunchwar expressed his apprehension on the use of term Natya Dharmi coined by Dr Sriram Lagoo on the word Natya Karmi.

“The term smacks of intolerance in the field of art and culture and at the ripe age of 80, I am bit skeptical and feel discomfort, fearing negative response to whatever I say or do. I do not wish to get involved into any controversy. A Natya Karmi’s goal is to get publicity, and benefit from its off shoot openings. We have to come together and work for progress of Marathi theatre without getting into meaningless controversy of Natya Karmi or Natya Dharmi.”

Mayor Nanda Jichkar described the event as a proud moment. She said that the city has been witnessing several top quality sports and cultural activities. “Our effort should be to preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage of Maharashtra,” she said and lauded personal interest shown in this regard by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.

Earlier, Pramukh Karyawah Naresh Gadekar made introductory remarks. Dignitaries on the dais lit the traditional lamp. Prof Elkunchwar broke the coconut and offered its fragments to all on the dais. All the dignitaries on the dais were feted with shawl, shrifal, a book and a memento.

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