The 20th edition of Bharat Rang Mahotsav began here Friday with a musical tribute to theatre veteran B V Karanth. Organised by the National School of Drama (NSD), the annual theatre festival was inaugurated by Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma at Kamani Auditorium.
The inaugural evening witnessed "Karanth Ke Rang", directed by Amod Bhatt and presented by Rangpurva group, a 50-minute medley of songs composed by late B V Karanth, a stalwart of Kannada and Hindi theatres.
Karanth was a prolific composer of songs and scripts for theatre. He also directed and acted in many productions.
Speaking at the inaugural evening, Sharma said that the "power of art should be used for the sake of humanity. This country applauds those who give back to the society. This country of 132 crores is bound together by culture and art. We should use the power of art for the sake of humanity. "
"Theatre Olympic helped create a new identity and BRM's spread to other cities help consolidated that. I request the Chairman and Director to change 20-25 per cent invite for people who are new and young," he added.
Theatre veteran and former NSD director Ram Gopal Bajaj echoed Sharma' views. Bajaj said that early education needs to inculcate appreciation towards cultural activities in the younger generation.
"Education is not limited to letters, it should also be about sensation and sensibility. We need to have platforms for children, youth and elderly.
"If this sensitivity (which comes through theatre) is not retained then we'll end up being even bigger monsters that we have become. This festival should be seen as a reminder of what could happen if we lost touch with ourselves," Bajaj, who is credited to have started Bharat Rang Mahotsav, said.
The evening also witnessed Rajya Sabha MP Sonal Mansingh and Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale.
Athawale, in his inimitable style, recited a few poems and also said that art and culture should receive more attention from the government.
"It is very much needed that we pay attention to arts and culture because it gives direction to the society. It brings a positive change," he said.
The 21-day festival will come to a close on February 21.