Bharat Bhavan losing its charm, few events, 4 out of 5 wings headless

Bharat Bhavan losing its charm, few events, 4 out of 5 wings headless

BHOPAL (Madhya Pradesh): Bharat Bhavan is no longer the vibrant multi-arts centre it once was. Few programmes are organised; four of the five wings have no directors, the staff has been reduced by retirements and artists rarely visit. The institution’s library has no librarian and even the canteen is closed.

Established in 1982, Bharat Bhavan has five wings: Rangmandal (Theatre Repertory), Rupankar (Museum of Fine Arts), Vagarth (Centre for Indian Poetry), Anhad (Classical and Folk Music Library) and Chhavi (Centre for Classical Cinema).

Rangmandal has been in disuse since 1999-2000. It was headed by doyens like BV Karanth and Habib Tanveer. In February 2022, the then Culture Minister Usha Thakur announced that Rangmandal would be revived and a ‘Kalagram’ would be set up at the Bhavan. Nothing has been done in this direction, except the appointment of Anoop Joshi ‘Bunty’ to oversee the revival of Rangmandal. The plot allotted for Kalagram lies vacant.

Similarly, Anhad and Vagarth are also headless. Rupankar, which was headed by the famous painter Jagdish Swaminathan till 1990, got a new director in Harchandan Singh Bhatti only a few years ago.

Theatre actor and director Balendra Singh said that apart from multi-arts, Bharat Bhavan is no longer the hub of even one art form. “Earlier, it was a lively place. Amateur and professional artists would visit it, discuss things and gossip in the canteen. But now it looks like a ‘khandhar’.”

Since September last year, only a handful of programmes have been organised at Bharat Bhavan due to the imposition of the Election Model Code of Conduct, first for the Vidhan Sabha and later for the Lok Sabha elections. In the past month, Bharat Bhavan has not witnessed any events, except for a four-day film festival.

This is mainly because Bharat Bhavan has stopped lending its auditoriums to individuals or organisations for holding events since 2018. “I don’t see any reason why it should be reserved only for government events,” said theatre actor and director Sanjay Mehta, adding that Ravindra Bhavan is becoming unaffordable for amateur theatre groups, leaving them with only Shaheed Bhavan to stage their plays.

Deepak Sharma, a ceramic artist, said the kiln (kiln) in the Bhavan’s ceramic workshop is not functioning. ‘There was a time when the workshop was full of young students who wanted to learn the art. But now it is deserted,’ he said.

“We are preparing DPR for Kalagram. There is no funds allocated for revival of Rangmandal in the annual budget. Maybe it will be done in the supplementary budget.” — Prem Shankar Shukla, Chief Administrative Officer, Bharat Bhavan

Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2024, 06:09 AM IST