Mumbai has long been the centre of Indian cinema, multi-lingual theatre and television. It is also the gateway into India for international theatre and film festivals.
More than 120 theatre shows are presented every year at the NCPA. There is an ongoing presentation of drama in a variety of forms and languages, principally in Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi and English. We also hold workshops involving collaborations with theatre groups from home and abroad, building essential skills and sharing experiences.
In the field of cinema, the collaborators include international film festivals such as Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) and Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), research institutes such as the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) in Pune, and film societies in Mumbai. All screenings are introduced by leading filmmakers or scholars, followed by discussion sessions.
Deepa Gahlot is the Head–Programming for Theatre & Film.
The NCPA’s 2012 season includes the following regular platforms and festivals:
In 2011, the NCPA Centre for the Promotion of Arts and Culture (CPAC) started Vasant, a Gujarati Theatre Festival. With Vasant, the NCPA continued to give impetus to its mission of promoting the best of performing arts by presenting festivals with regional connect and giving platform to local talent. Gujarati theatre has continued to hold strong the dramatic fervour of stage groups and audiences alike. It has been a significant contributor to the cultural landscape of Mumbai. The festival is aimed towards bringing to the fore the out-of-the-usual, exciting and inventive side of Gujarati theatre—something that has been missing for quite some time now. The festival will focus on plays with offbeat subjects and genres. The first edition in 2011 featured five plays, including three premiers. The second editition of the festival took place on March 23–25, 2012. Here is what we featured this year.
Started by the NCPA in 2010 to inspire creativity, encourage learning skills and provide entertainment at the same time, NCPA Summer Fiesta is an exciting way to spend the vacations, while learning various skills in an informal, non-competitive environment. This is a month-long festival for children, that encourages development through the performing arts. The idea behind this initiative is two-fold: one direct and one indirect. The direct objective is to engage children so as to enrich their vacations through fun workshops that span theatre, dance, creative writing and craft. The indirect objective is to draw these children, the adults of tomorrow, to spaces they might not have otherwise ventured to: performance spaces. The NCPA as a venue would like to play host to such an endeavour in the hope that through their exploration of the NCPA's premises, when an entire month is dedicated to them and their interests, these children will find a space they want to consciously part take of and come home to.
In 2011, the NCPA created and hosted its first-ever Hindi theatre festival 'NCPA Ananda: Hindi Natya Utsav', that was held on May 6–8, 2011. The festival showcased plays that have strong literary roots. In the first edition, the festival featured a selection of delightful Hindi plays by Pawan Uttam—Imran Rasheed’s young group, Rangbaaz—the oldest theatre group in India, Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) and Om Katare’s popular group Yatri, covering a spectrum of genres and generations. NCPA Ananda commenced on May 6 with the premiere of the play Falsafa by Rangbaaz Group, which is inspired by R. K. Narayan’s novel Bachelor of Arts and Manto’s story License. On May 7, the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, IPTA presented the play Kabuliwala Laut Aaya, yet another premiere based on a story by Rabindranath Tagore, about a rare friendship between an Afghani man and a little girl in Kolkata. The festival ended with Ravanleela, a play by Yatri Productions on an amateurish Ramleela of a small town.
The second edition of the festival was held on May 4–6, 2012. The festival opened with Papa, directed by Pawan Uttam and Imran Rasheed. This performance marked another first, with Papa being the first devised work on the theme of fatherhood, in Hindi theatre. The second day saw four complete strangers—a terrorist, a bureaucrat, a peon and a news anchor—come together in a revealing, yet poetic conversation, through a production titled Kalaam. The third and final day of the festival followed the trials and tribulations of young Ram Sajeevan, a bright-eyed student at JNU, as he tries to fit in into the capital's social and economic scenario—a stark contrast to his simple, rural upbringing.
Plays ranging from comedy to human folly, from tragedy to edge-of-the-seat thriller, The ‘NCPA Pratibimb Marathi Natya Utsav’ is an entertaining and enriching mix of theatre for Marathi theatre aficionados. With very few Marathi theatre festivals in town, the NCPA aims to provide Marathi theatre with a new destination, reach, stage and audience.
After the success of the previous two editions, The NCPA presents the third chapter of Pratibimb. This year's festival showcasing 6 new plays will be held between August 3 – 7, 2012, at the Experimental Theatre, NCPA. Read more here.
Started in 2009, Nave Valan showcases the best of contemporary Marathi cinema. The festival has screened some path-breaking Marathi films, including India’s entry for the Oscars, Harishchandrachi Factory. Beginning with a social drama, Dhaag, moving on to Gajrachi Pungi, Chintoo, Masala, Kaksparsh and Deool, Nave Valan will, as always, span a broad spectrum of interesting genres.
In 2010, NCPA launched its first-ever theatre festival, 'NCPA Centrestage', which created a platform for new works and encouraged birth of new groups. As a result, plays written and performed first for NCPA Centrestage went on to perform and win awards at various prestigious national and international festivals. NCPA Centrestage 2010 had 12 plays in four major languages, along with an extravaganza of folk and Chauraha performances, play readings, films on theatre, theatre workshops and discussions. The NCPA, in partnership with the leading theatre production house, Ashvin Gidwani Productions (AGP), presented the second edition of its annual theatre festival, Centrestage 2011. Mumbai’s only theatre festival featuring 'premiering plays' showcased 15 premiere plays in Hindi, Marathi, English and Gujarati, presented by theatre groups from across India and abroad, including international productions from UK and Malaysia, street theatre, and workshops.
The NCPA Fresh Pix Series was started in September 2010 to create an audience for regional and Indie cinema that often does not reach the lay audience, outside of the film festival circuit. The Fresh Pix Series is dedicated to giving exposure to independent filmmakers who push themselves beyond the realms of formula films. Once a month, we feature a new release handpicked to fit the theme of this series.
Here is the list of film Fresh Pix Screenings for 2013:
In June 2011, the NCPA collaborated with the UK’s National Theatre to present theatre screenings and direct broadcasts of the latter's productions, giving theatre-goers in Mumbai, a wonderful opportunity to view great theatrical productions from the repertoire of the National Theatre, London. For the first time in India, this collaboration between the NCPA and National Theatre Live enabled audiences in Mumbai to see what the world is watching—not on stage, but through high quality digital recordings, shot live. This is a monthly series.
In a continuing bid to get the best international programming to the NCPA, a tie-up with New York’s prestigious Metropolitan Opera, brings high-quality screenings of live opera playing at the MET. It’s the next best thing to being there.