In a race to produce excellent breed of Engineers and Doctors, art and culture often takes a backseat. If you take a cultural and art tour of India, you will be surprised with the rich heritage that exists. It is quite saddening to see the degree to which a rich heritage has been ridiculed, damaged and often neglected. Mumbai is and has always been a step ahead of the current depiction of bollywood glamour and its naming as ‘the City of Dreams’. The illustrious Rang Bhavan has unfortunately joined the horde of lost heritage of the city.
This 50-year old heritage is one of its kind amphitheater that currently exists. Located in Dhobi Talao, this amphitheater was the ultimate haven for the rock cult of 1980s that trended in India and was the premiere destination for a illustrious line of artists and celebrities such as The Police (first British rock band to play in India), Sting, Jethro Tull, and landmark music festivals such as Independence Rock, Jazz Yatra, along with numerous folk concerts like Lavani and Tamasha. The privilege of hosting talents such as Pandit Zakir Hussain and Pandit Shivkumar Sharma has also been bestowed to this place.
Why am I talking about this place with a tinge of nostalgia? Mainly because as of 25th September 2003, in response to the petition filed by Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG), the high court has implemented a ban regarding the use of loudspeakers in silent zones (A silent zone is an area within 100 metres of either a hospital, court, religious structure or an educational institution). Since then, no concert has been performed in this theater because of which the whole place has gone into complete derelict.
Listed as a grade 2 heritage structure, it has recently come up in the news following the submission of a recent proposal by the state’s Marathi language department (Marathi is the native language of the state of Maharashtra) to construct a four-story language research center, equipped with an air-conditioned auditorium after razing down the original structure.
I know it is said that the history often repeats itself, but unfortunately the ones that shoudl be immortalized for enriching the culture of the city, are the ones that are treated with no respect.
Disclaimer – All the pictures have been because of the sneaking effort of my friend Nitish Thomas and have his full permission to be used here.
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