Thursday, 1 March 2018

Theatrical Extravaganza at the 15th Vodafone Odeon Theater Festival

Hello Chicas,

If you have been following me on Instagram you must have gotten a peek into the theater festival I attended last week. Initiated in 2001, the Vodafone Odeon Theater Festival aims at highlighting the rich cultural heritage of Bengal. In a bid to support the promotion of art and culture across the country, Vodafone, one of India ’s leading cellular service providers, came up with the Odeon Theater Festival in Kolkata to offer a platform for dramatic excellence. The festival, a four day extravaganza, celebrates the rich heritage that Kolkata shares with art, culture and theater. The annual Odeon Theater Festival in Kolkata is a fifteen year old association of Vodafone with the city’s cultural tradition.

I attended the press meet on 22nd February where Arvinder Singh Sachdev, Business Head of Vodafone India, announced the 15th edition of Vodafone Odeon Theater Festival and talked about how Vodafone as a brand has always encouraged and appreciated the cultural heritage of Bengal. I was fascinated reading about the stories starting from the 1st to the 15th edition of Vodafone Odeon Theater Festival displayed right outside the conference hall.

The 4 day theater celebration began on the 22nd February where the festival saw 20 colleges and 20 renowned theatre groups across the city competing in different segments. The participating artists got the opportunity to be mentored by eminent Bengali theatre personalities like Bratya Basu, Soumitra Chatterjee, Debshankar Haldar, Goutam Haldar, Meghnad Bhattacharya, Anirban Bhattacharya amongst others.  The top 4 winners from both the segments got an opportunity to perform at Minarva Theatre and was felicitated by the celebrities on 24th and 25th February 2018. The winning colleges were Vidyasagar College, Moulana Azad College, Sarojini Naidu College and Vivekananda College. The selected theatre groups are Frankly Speaking, Naihati Spartan, Repertory, Bawandule and Rabindranagar Natya Youth.

 Some of the popular Bengali and Hindi plays that were staged in this year’s theatre festival were Gang, 21 Grams, Mumbai Nights, Mulya and Main aur Tum. Eminent personalities like Samrat Ghatak, Goutam Haldar, Sharman Joshi, Bratya Basu, Rajat Ganguly and others performed in the different Hindi and Bengali plays. Being a non-bengali I was eager to attend a Hindi play and therefore I opted for "Main aur Tum", a hilarious rom-com starring Sharman Joshi and Tejashri Pradhan. Both the actors were flawless and spontaneous. The use of lights and decoration was commendable. The onscreen chemistry shared between Sharman Joshi and Tejashri Pradhan was sizzling. It was a difficult story depicted with utter simplicity and that won the heart of the audience.

The festival demonstrates Vodafone’s commitment to strengthen the relationship with its customers in Kolkata by following an innovative format that combines staging of contemporary plays and supporting local talent.

Picture Courtesy: Jyotika Baijal

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