Natrang Children outshined at Bharat Bhawan National Theatre Festival, Bhopal here this evening where they staged Padamshree Balwant Thakur’s highly acclaimed Hindi play ‘Aap Hamare Hain Kaun’ on 5th day of the festival and created history for being the first children theatre group to make it to the National Threatre Festival. A Thirty-two member team of Natrang artists headed by Balwant Thakur himself arrived here yesterday in the city of lakes to participate country’s most sought after National Theatre festival in which top professional theatre artists and groups are participating. The biggest challenge before young Natrang actors was to reach up to the expectations of jam-packed Bharat Bhawan elite who had seen best of Indian stage actors like Kulbhushan Kharbanda in their best form on stage a day before. But the standing ovation and the repeated applauses by the audience in response to brilliant acting by children was amazing. Balwant Thakur’s highly innovative style of presentation and his command over mirroring the contemporary issues concerning children just mesmerized the spectators. In Bhopal there is a huge fan following of Natrang as theatre and art lovers out here have already seen ‘Bawa Jitto’ and ‘Ghumayee’ in the same festival under the imaginative direction of Balwant Thakur. ‘Aap hamare Hain Kaun was created by Balwant Thakur in the process of evolving a new dramaturgy for children’s theatre. The resultant work got recognition all over the country and the play has the credit of having featured in over twenty National Theatre festival and has been lauded as one of the most outstanding children play created in India.
The play ‘Aap Hamare Hain Kaun’ shakes parents, educationists/guardians of society out of reverie of materialism, consumerism and unbridled desires. This play compels elders to look around and clear the mess they have created due to their own amorous ambitions. Parents see in their children an extension of their unfulfilled dreams and force them to become stereotypes and kill bountiful charm in them. In a pursuit to make them doctors, engineers and I.A.S., they are subjected to every kind of cruelty. The children become mechanical and hardly get time to discover their real self. Prevalent education system adds further insult to injury and creativity gets scuttled and children grow up devoid of values. Play deals with contemporary problems that younger generation is up against from their own loved ones and surroundings.
The Children who performed brilliantly and won the hearts of Bhopal theatre lovers included Juhi Singh, Gopi Sharma, Sanchita Dubey, Sanyam Gupta, Shreya Gupta, Agam Kaur, Mihir Gujral, Manya Gujral, Sanya Gupta, Asma Gul, Ayn Bhola, Chander Pratap Singh Bhau, Chirag Anand, Sanvi Anand, Riya Jandial, Saba Jamwal, Shivangini Sharma, Divyan Sharma, Sahil Singh Anand, Vedhant Suri, Sanket Bhagat and Rudra Kohli.
A team of seven experts supported the children at back stage which included Prabodh Jamwal (Production control), Neeraj Kant (Directorial Assistance), Mohd. Yaseen (Coordination) Aarushi Thakur (Stage Management), Ankush Lakhnotra (Lighting), Pooja Gupta (Properties) and Rakesh Kona (Rhythm/Sounds)