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Australia Day Honours: Mandar Madhusudan Vaidya, OAM

Melbourne’s MANDAR MADHUSUDAN VAIDYA is awarded OAM for service to the performing arts By  Preeti Jabbal 

Melbourne’s MANDAR MADHUSUDAN VAIDYA is awarded OAM for service to the performing arts

Melbourne based retailer and artist Mandar Madhusudan Vaidya has added another accolade to his list of achievements, being awarded with this year’s OAM for service to the performing arts.

Making the rich tradition of Marathi theatre ‘accessible and enjoyable’ to Melbourne audience has been a joyful cultural experience for this performance artist.

“Theatre to me is living in a meditative state of life. It helps to pause and rest my mind within my daily routine of work, family and community,” said Mandar who feels ‘absolutely blessed and honoured’ to receive the OAM for his lifelong passion.

Mandar’s love for theatre began at the age of seven when he started accompanying his mother to her drama rehearsals. He was fascinated by the vibrancy of the sets and started replicating it in his primary school years by creating kids’ versions of the professional plays he saw.

The acting bug continued throughout his school and university days as he frequently produced, acted or directed plays. He considered himself very fortunate to have trained under the renowned Vikram Watve during his formative theatrical years.

During his last year in university in 1994, he formed Reaction, a theatre group along with some like-minded artists. Together they produced plays such as Bumbai Ke Kauvve (Hindi), Pratibimba (Hindi and Marathi), Amhi Latike Na Bolu (Marathi).

According to Mandar his group performed 250 plus shows, mainly at the iconic Prithvi Theatre. They did several performances at the Tata National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) theatre and toured Maharashtra and Delhi.

Finishing university with an MBA in Marketing, Mandar migrated to Australia in 2000. In 2002 Mandar took a postgraduate diploma in IT from Swinburne University and began work as a data analyst for Retail.

It was time to get back to his creative pursuits. For nearly a decade he continued to act, direct, sing and dance in many programs with the local Maharashtra Mandal groups.

“It was hard to dedicate so much time consistently; especially directing full length plays,” said Mandar sharing his theatrical journey.

“A play with a run time of 2-3 hours can take on an average 3 months of rehearsals, taking up every weekend from 9 am-5 pm. Dedicating that time to my art, however, offered me great satisfaction. Theatre thus became ‘a part time job’ for my soul,” said Mandar.

In 2012 he founded the not-for-profit Kalavishkar, where he directed Hindi plays and conducted acting workshops. His wife Manasi and daughter Soumya continued to support him in his endeavours.

In 2015 other theatre enthusiasts joined him and they formed the Natyadarpan Indian Theatre Academy (NITA). Collaboratively they developed their artistic and acting muscles.

Natyadarpan is a community organisation that aims to bring diverse artists under the same roof to project reflections of life experiences in a theatrical form. They conduct acting workshops and present dramas regularly to Melbourne audiences.

“We help developing actors, directors, writers, translators, singers, background music providers, stage light and sound specialists, promoters and set designers, covering almost every aspect of theatre,” said Mandar.

“I dedicate my award to the 100-plus members of Natyadarpan who have supported our endeavours, volunteered and worked tirelessly to take our theatrical activities to another level,” said Mandar.

“Theatre adds to the rich value system and culture of India and sharing it on one common platform aligns to the Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or world family,” he continued.

Building a bridge between a community of artists and the broader community, Mandar continues to commit himself to creating theatre that goes beyond our everyday lives.

Kaleidoscope- Mono Acting Festival 20 October 2018

India Link – Mirrors and angles

Flashes of brilliance at Kaleidoscope, a community theatre group workshop

  

The dynamic interaction between emotional experience and imaginative creativity was explored recently through Natyadarpan’s Kaleidoscope. In their latest theatrical offer, the Melbourne-based community artist group had invited the audience to fall in love all over again, and they did.

The collective presentation of freshers and experienced actors that was held at Kew Court House recently delivered some dynamic storytelling and a rich theatre experience.

Expressive and nuanced, Suman’s body and voice lamented modern lifestyles where children and adult are no longer in tune with nature. She expressed her sadness at gizmos and gadgets taking over the simple pleasure of a walk or run outdoors.

Young Piyush Arora loudly gave voice to Ghutan, the suffocation of an artist, trapped, unable to liberate emotional, physical and creative blocks. Stuck in a rut he struggles to escape and give wings to his dreams.

Piyush wrote his own script while Minal Khairnar Burkule and Vipin chose to enact scripts written by Mandar Vaidya and Vipin Gaindhar titled Kashmakash, a virtual reality. Hem Tiwary in Kalaakar ki ghutan (suffocation of an artist), Prajakta Kale’s Aaj ki Sita (modern day Sita) and Ankush Jindal and Anamika Sharma in Hamare jaisi hi (One of us) addressed social issues in a constructive way.

The performances were a great blend of passion and process not just as a creative output but an educational experience. The artists’ attempt was to access and trigger truthful emotions quickly and the audience proved receptive to their craft.

The show continued with Seema Gupta’s hysterically charged act Mein Kahan Surakshit Hoon (Where should I feel safe?) followed by Anamika Sharma’s very confident performance on Also Ran. Both were adept at adding depth to their character and complexity to their performances.

Not all artists had the ability to hold a room on their own, however, they were able to invest in their passion and uplift their commitment to their craft. According to Mandar Vaidya, the brain behind Naytadarpan, this community-based organisation, through its activities, strives to project reflections of life experiences in a theatrical form. Mandar, who is an alumnus of Mumbai’s Prithvi theatre, migrated to Melbourne in 2002. Since then he has acted and directed in over 30 plays in English, Hindi and Marathi languages.

As a not-for-profit organisation Natyadarpan conducts acting workshops and presents dramas regularly to Melbourne audiences. This year’s Kaleidoscope was no bells and whistles. It was just simple storytelling capturing the essence and complexity of what it means to be humans. With Kaleidoscope Natyadarpan’s purpose of bringing diverse artist under the same roof to explore, educate and entertain was well and truly served.

When Gia embraced Saru

– Gia Pandit starred as Saru in Pancchi Aise Aate Hain

Her name was Saru. There was nothing fanciful or boisterous about her, nothing that catches the eye and that would leave a lasting impression. She was a plain girl, unassuming and naïve. Her feet were planted firmly on terra firma and her head on her shoulders. Her dreams? They weren’t about vivid summer days or the incandescent glow of a faraway star. She reminded me of a long-forgotten song; the lyrics of which were dulled over time but whose melody we keep humming time and again, unawares.
In this story, through a tumultuous incident she gets swept up into a rough ocean of emotions, waves crashing into the sharp corners of a broken cliff. And it is this very tipping point, which will prove to be the catalyst in her becoming the woman she is destined to be.
Set in the 1960’s, this story unsettles the dust on age-old customs in marriage. It all unfolds in a foreground weighed heavily by traditions in the company of her unsophisticated and bourgeois family. Unsurprisingly, she gets forced into marriage; and at this point in time you might think, she is the quintessential nameless face in a big mob. But my darling reader, this is where you’d be wrong. This is where Saru takes centre stage, she lays claim to the reigns of control of her life. Unfortunately, this still remains a woeful tale in many ways. But also one of her discovering love within herself.
In the end though, she leaves us all impassioned from the fractures in her broken heart. The heightened sensation of her being consumed in love is so beautifully enduring because she hasn’t felt any romantic love ever before. The naivety and vigour of a girl who experiences love for the first time is juxtaposed with the whimsical flirtations of a man who is unmindful of the ripples he causes in her life. Ironically, this is the man who will teach her the value of self-worth, to whom she will bare her heart and offer her love. This sensational medley reaches a deafening crescendo when he declares that he does not love her, her love is unrequited. Her overpowering grief doesn’t merit fanfare or any affection and in the end she valiantly picks up the shards of her broken heart all alone. My heart goes out to this intrepid girl who stands tall in the face of misfortune of the worst kind. And in the end, in one delicate and powerful gesture, she relieves him of any guilt, of any commitment.

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Shining stars at the Chandler community theatre

– Santosh Kumar

Natyadarpan’s recent production was staged on Saturday 24 June 2017 at ‘Chandler Community Theatre’. Three dramas that reignited among Indians living in Australia about their cultural, social and corrupt bureaucratic ways back home. Each play was meticulously crafted; it clearly conveyed the intended message. Drama is a performing art that has been used to convey social, cultural and conceptual ideas through dramatized improvisation and this was successfully achieved. Plays were with English subtitles to accommodate local Australians. Each actor was completely living in the role they were assigned. Congratulations to the story writers, Director Mandar Vaidya and all actors. The three productions were:
1. The lonely flower,
2. Panchhi Aise Aate Hain, and
3. Taj Mahal Ka Tender.
‘The lonely flower’ is a story of a single child who is lonely. The dram is about her search for a sibling. The play, ‘Panchhi Aise Aate Hain’ is a story of a wanderer, who walks in to an unknown family, wins their confidence and stayed with them. Here he meets their daughter who has been unsuccessful in finding a suitable match, which is causing pain to all in the family and the girl is depressed. This wanderer helps their daughter to regain her confidence by understanding the meaning of true beauty and love. When a boy accepts her to marry, she declines the proposal and expresses her love towards the wanderer although he admits that all what he told was nothing but a lie. This turn in the story makes it very interesting and is a slap on the Indian match making system.
The play ‘Taj Mahal Ka Tender’ was written sometime back and it has been performed in theatres by various groups all over the world. Its biting wit throws a powerful punch on the Indian bureaucratic system. It is a play which is full of laughter yet at every stage reminds the darker side of Indian system.
Overall, all plays were a great success. Three plays in one go became a bit long but everyone enjoyed the evening. The lesson is ‘NOT to miss-out future-performances’ by Natyadarpan group directed by Mandar Vaidya.

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नाट्य दर्पण द्वारा प्रस्तुत ‘विंटर फिस्ट’ 2017

– अनुश्री जेन (Anushree Jain)

नाट्य दर्पण द्वारा प्रस्तुत ‘विंटर फेस्ट’ 2017
मुझे 24 जून 2017 को पहली बार नाट्य दर्पण द्वारा प्रस्तुत ‘विंटर फेस्ट’ में जाने का अवसर मिला| कार्यक्रम की तीनों प्रस्तुतियां “लोनली फ्लावर”, “पंछी ऐसे आते हैं”और “ताजमहल का टेंडर” बहुत पसंद आई| मेरे लिए सबसे सुखद बात यह थी कि दोनों हिंदी नाटकों के अधिकतर कलाकारों कि मातृ भाषा हिंदी नहीं होते हुए भी उनके संवादों के प्रवाह से कोई कमी नहीं थी| कार्यक्रम का मंच-संचलान सौम्या वैद्य द्वारा बखूबी निभाया गया|

“लोनली फ्लावर” इस संगीतमय नाटिका की पटकथा को रॉय कोसेना ने विशेष तौर पर नाट्यदर्पण के लिए लिखा| इसको प्रस्तुत करने वाले सभी बाल कलाकारों ( 3-12की आयु ) ने अपनी भूमिका को बहुत अच्छे से निभाया| इन नन्हें कलाकारों ने एक बच्चे की अकेलेपन की व्यथा क्या होती है और वो अन्य बच्चों के प्रयास से उसमें से कैसे उभर के बाहर आती है को बहुत खूबसूरती से प्रस्तुत किया| कथा का प्रस्तुतिकरण करने वाले सभी कलाकारों ने मुझे बहुत प्रभावित किया|

पंछी ऐसे आते हैं में सभी कलाकारों ने अपनी भूमिका बखूबी निभाई| इस नाटक में विवाह के प्रस्ताव में बार-बार ठुकरा दी जाने वाली लड़की और उसके परिवार की आशा और निराशा के बीच डोलती मनोदशा को बहुत अच्छे से प्रस्तुत किया गया है | नायक और नायिका के आलावा अन्य सभी पात्रों ने दर्शकों को करुणा, ममता, वेदना, चिंता और लाचारी के भाव के साथ सरोबार करने के साथ- साथ हँसाया भी खूब | कथा की नायिका ‘सरु’ पटकथा में साधारण बताई गयी है पर उसकी भूमिका करने वाली कलाकार खूबसूरत सी थी| एक गंभीर विषय की मनोरंजक प्रस्तुति मुझे और दर्शको को बहुत भायी|

ताजमहल का टेंडर में सभी कलाकारों ने अपनी भूमिका से दर्शकों का मनमोह लिया| उन्होंने समाज की समस्या को और कार्य पद्धति को हास्य के माध्यम से प्रस्तुत करके दर्शकों को खूब हँसाया| मुख्य पात्र फुलवती और शाहजहां के बेहतर अभिनय के साथ अन्य सभी पत्रों का अभिनय बहुत अच्छा था| मेकअप इतना अच्छा था कि मुझे अंत तक पता नहीं चला कि शाहजहां की भूमिका को कौन निभा रखा था| अंतिम दृश्य में बादशाह का पोपला मुख गजब लगा|
कार्यक्रम में इंग्लिश में अनुवाद अच्छा कदम था| मुझे यह देखकर प्रसन्नता हुई कि आयोजकों द्वारा कार्यक्रम की टिकट खरीदना, सीट चुनना, पहले से भोजन का आर्डर देने की व्यवस्था, बच्चों की देखभाल व्यवस्था और सम्पूर्ण कार्यक्रम की पूर्व सूचना सुव्यवस्थित और सहज तरीके से तरीके से प्रदान की गई| भोजन की व्यवस्था सुचारु रूप से की गयी थी| किसी को लम्बी लम्बी क़तर में नहीं लगना पड़ा केवल छोटे से कप में दो घूंट चाय पूरी तरह से तृप्त न कर पाई |

कार्यक्रम के सफल आयोजन के लिए हर छोटी से छोटी बात का ध्यान रखा गया| सभी कलाकारों और पृष्ट्भूमि में काम करने वाले अन्य सभी 60 से अधिक व्यक्तिओं की मेहनत स्पष्ट नज़र आई| कार्यक्रम के सफल आयोजन के लिए और व्यवस्था के लिए आयोजक मंदार वैद्य और अन्य सभी बधाई के हक़दार हैं| मेरी तरह सम्भवता सभी दर्शकों को नाट्य दर्पण की अगली प्रस्तुति का इंतजार रहेगा|

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Nagmandala: A play by Natyadarpan – an Indian drama group

– Anthony Sofo

My eyes were moving at the speed of light, between the English subtitles (by N. Sharda) and the enthusiastic acting, telling the story of Nagamandala. The zealous story teller implores us to join in the excitement of the story. Throughout history there has been an abundance of stories depicting relationships and interactions between lovers and married couples. This is the case of Rani and Appannaa a newly married couple, set in the Indian tradition. Unlike Romeo and Juliet their relationship is not fatal, but rather one that is evolving, troublesome, accepting and flourishing with variable confidence in the protagonist, shifting mindset in Appannaa and a complete transformation in Rani.
Saturated in Indian, Hindi culture and tradition the story is enhanced with reference to a snake (Naga), which has magical powers. Appannaa is an example of a modern day chauvinist, interested only in his concubine. He leaves Rani locked in the house all day. Naga, with his magical powers, manages to win the confidence of Rani in her isolation. It is Appannaa who feels shame and abhorrence when Rani admits “we are going to have a child”, how can that be, Appannaa is shocked, scandalized. Rani is accused of infidelity and forced to take the acid test in front of the five elders, she must prove her purity. Rani is not bitten by the king cobra and is proclaimed a goddess, brave and a virtuous wife. Rani, Appannaa and the son live happily ever after, or do they?
The play offers three different endings for the public to consider. They deal mainly with the state of independence of Rani, her growth in personal confidence and maturity as a human being.
Directed by the brilliant Mandar, it is the actors who bring pathos and humour to the brilliantly written story. Initially, the story teller and the flames wax lyrical about the story, it is one that must be told, indeed, it is a “question of life and death”. All the actors are brilliant, Rani, Appannaa, the story teller and my personal favourite, blind Ma, indeed she instilled some humour and mild laughter. It was the vivid actor and genius story teller Charlie Chaplin who mused “A day without laughter is a day wasted”.

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नाट्य दर्पण ने प्रस्तुत किया – नागा मंडल

– सुभाष शरमा द्वारा लिखि गयि समीक्षा

नाग मंडल फिल्म जगत की जानी मानी हस्ती डा. गिरीश कर्नाड द्वारा लिखित नाटक है जो उन्होंने अपने फुल्ब्राईट स्कालरशिप के समय अमेरिका के एक विश्वविद्यालय में असाइंमेंट के रूप में लिखा था | उनकी यह कृति इतनी प्रसिद्द हुयी कि उन्हें इसके लिए अकादमी पुरूस्कार से सम्मानित किया गया |  इस नाटक में साहित्यिक, मनोवैज्ञानिक, सांस्कृतिक और सामाजिक विविधताओं का एक संगम है| जिस प्रकार से कविता सीधे सीधे शब्दों में न कहकर कुछ ऐसे शब्दों से रची जाती है जिससे पाठक का मानसिक व्यायाम होसके| यह नाटक उस श्रेणी में श्रेष्ठ स्तर का है और भारत की अनेको भाषाओं में मंचों पर खेला जा चुका है|

मेलबर्न में नाट्य दर्पण ने इसका मंच प्रदर्शन मंदार के निर्देशन में हिंदी के साथ टेलीविजन के परदे पर अंग्रेजी रूपांतर के साथ किया जिसे भारतीयों के अतिरिक्त अन्य समुदाय के लोगों के बीच भारतीय संस्कृति और साहित्य की अंतरराष्ट्रीय संस्करण के रूप में पहचान बनी|

यह नाटक एक रानी नाम की सुन्दर स्त्री की वैवाहिक जीवन की कथा है जिसका विवाह वाल्यावस्था में एक ऐसे युवक के साथ होता है जिसकी रूचि पत्नी के प्रति कम होती है और वह स्त्री को मात्र जीवन दासी समझता है| इस कहानी में एक अंधी माँ एक ऐसी जडी जो पति पर जादू कर उसे यौन तृप्ति के लिए स्त्री के वश में करदे देती है, पकती हुयी दाल में डालने से दाल लाल कर करदेती है और जब वह उसे पति को खिलाने की जगह सांप के बिल में दाल देती हैं तब एक नागप्पा नाम का काला नाग उस स्त्री में अबोध वाल्य वधु से पूर्ण युवती की यौन इच्छाओं को पूरा करने वाला व्यक्ति प्रतीकात्मक रूप में जीवन में आजाता है है | नागप्पा उसके पति के रूप में आकर हर रात्रि को उसकी इच्छाओं की पूर्ती करता है| पर जब उसका असली पति दिन में आता है तब उसका अमानवीय व्यवहार देख कर स्त्री असमंजस्य में पड़ जाती है कि क्या नागप्पा ही उसका पति है पर जैसे ही बोध होता है की उसका प्रेमी और पति एक नहीं हैं| तब वह एक समझौता कर लेती है और पति के साथ रहते हुए भी वह प्रेमी के अपने जीवन का अभिन्न अंग समझती है | पति के शक करने पर रानी  अग्नि परिक्षा देने के लिए अपना हाथ नाग के बिल में डाल देती हैं क्यों कि उसे उसे प्रेमी पर पूर्ण विस्वास है | वह नागप्पा से गर्भवती हो जाती है और पति का प्रतीक्षित प्रेम उस आने वाली आत्मा में स्वीकार करने लगती है|

यह कहानी प्रतीकात्मक है जहां स्त्री का दाम्पत्य जीवन सुरक्षा का बंधन ही नहीं शारीरिक सुख का साधन भी है तथा यौन तृप्ति उतनी ही आवशयक है जितनी समाज में पति का साथ | नाटक की कहानी प्रतीकात्मक रूप से स्त्री के मानसिक तथा शारीरिक आवश्यकताओं को मन में छुपे यौन शक्ति को को नाग के रूप में प्रदर्शित करती है तथा एक वाल्य बधू से सम्प्पूर्ण नारी में परिवर्तन को लेकर मनः स्थितियों, सामाजिक बन्धनों और दाइत्वों के इंद्रजाल का एक सुन्दर चित्रण करती है|

नाटक के सभी पात्र मेलबर्न से ही चुने गए हैं जिनमे से अधिक तर मंच पर मराठी अभिनय के जाने माने कलाकार हैं| रानी और नागप्पा के सशक्त अभिनय ने नाटक में डाली है| मंच सज्जा का कार्य ज्योतियों के रूप में कलाकारों की वेशभूषा तथा टेलीविजन पर अंग्रेजी रूपांतर के साथ एक एक पल दर्शकों को एक टक जिज्ञासा और कौतूहल के साथ अभिनय के पात्रों के साथ जोड़े रखते हैं|

यह नाटक बौद्धिक परिपक्वता का सुन्दर चित्रण है भारतीय सामजिक परिथितियों का ही नहीं सम्पूर्ण नारी जाति की इक्षाओं का प्रतिबिम्ब है | यह नाटक राष्ट्रीय तथा अन्तराष्ट्रीय स्तर पर अनेकों बार पुरुष्कृत होचुका है जिसका मेलबर्न के “नाट्य  दर्पण “ संस्थान में मन्दार के वैद्य के निर्देशन में मंच पर प्रदर्शन अन्य नाटकों की सफलताओं में सफलता के शीर्ष पर लेजाता है| यह अन्तर्राष्ट्रीय नाटक श्रंखला में नाटी दर्पण का पहला सफल प्रयास है जो भारतीय तथा अन्य समुदाय के लोगों की द्रष्टि से भारतीय कला और साहित्य का अद्भुत प्रदर्शन है|