In the year 2009, this festival saw 63 productions out of which 51 are from the Indian sub continent, and 12 are overseas plays, over a span of 12 days. Currently, it is acknowledged as the largest theatre festival of Asia, dedicated solely to theatre. This festival is mainly held in the second week of January, every year at venues around the NSD Campus, and also in a one "Showcase City", where a "Satellite Festival" of Bharat Rang Mahotsav is held. For example in 2009, the venue Lucknow, saw 18 productions, in 2010 the venue was Bhopal.
History of Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM)
1st BRM: The first ever all-Indian theatre festival, Bharat Rang Mahotsav 1999, opened on 18 March in Delhi, with staging of Girish Karnad's play Nagamandala (Hindi) directed by Amal Allana. Held during the tenure Ram Gopal Bajaj as NSD Director, the festival also featured Kolkata based Nandikar group's solo act Meghnad Badh Kavya (Bengali) written by Michael Madhusudan Dutta, Girish Karnad's Agni aur Barkha (Hindi) directed by Prasanna, Ajneyas Uttar Priyadarshi (Manipuri) directed by Ratan Thiyam and Himmat Mai (Hindi), an adaptation of Brecht's Mother Courage, and plays in several Indian languages, including Tamil language, Malayalam language, Assamese, Telugu language, Kannada language, Marathi language, Punjabi, Dogri language and Bhojpuri language. A silent performance of Shakespeare's Othello, with only a few "sounds" in Arabic, directed by Teofik Jebali from Tunisia was only foreign entry.
4th BRM: The 4th Bharat Rang Mahotsav, was instated by Pt Ravi Shankar on 16th of March 2002, and also featured 126 dramas in more than 20 languages, and plays from five other countries which included Korea, Bangladesh, Germany, Israel and Mauritius. The focus of the festival was on theatre from West Bengal and the North East, showcased in four productions from Manipur, including Bhoot Amusung (Devil and the Mask) directed by L Dorendra, five from Assam with "Hamlet" by Dulal Roy and nine plays from West Bengal. Nagaland, showcased its dances, and Nidhali with young dancers under NSD graduate Rabijita Gogoi, as part of an NSD extension programme, finally Mizoram presented Zanriah El Hmain by Siddharth Chakraborty. The plays were staged at eight venues in and around NSD, and the festival concluded on 8 April, with Ratan Thiyam's presentation of Kalidasa's epic poem Ritusamharam.
7th BRM: Seventh Bharat Rang Mahotsav held January, 2005, in Delhi, was marked by veteran theatre director, Mohan Maharishi's breakthrough Hindi play, "Ho Rahega Kuch Na Kuch" inspired by Marsha Norman's 1983 English play, "'Night, Mother".
8th BRM: Eighth Bharat Rang Mahotsav (2006) showcased 60 plays from all over India, and also from Asia and the Arab world. A three-day international seminar titled "Theatre in Turmoil" was inaugurated by Richard Schechner, a theatre scholar and director, participated by theatre directors, scholars, critics and designers from China, Japan, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Korea and India.
9th BRM: Ninth Bharat Rang Mahotsav opened at Siri Fort Auditorium on 6th January 2007 with a performance by Sasha Waltz, the dancer-cum-choreographer from Germany, and featured the 52 performances, 13 from Australia, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Germany, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Nepal, Poland, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and Uzbekistan, and 39 Indian productions including tribute production, theatre director Alyque Padamsee's play "Macbeth", and choreographer Narendra Sharma's "Mukhantar and Conference". The International dance theatre showcased works of Leszek Bzdyl, Beatrice Jaccard and Peter Schelling, also Indian dancers and choreographers like Maya Krishna Rao, Padmini Chettur, Geeta Chandran and Veenapani Chawla. The "Satellite Festival" was held at Kolkata, from 12 and 20 January
10th BRM: In 2008, when NSD celebrated its golden jubilee the festival also saw a gathering of its alumni from all over the country, and from Bangladesh, Nepal and Mauritius. The festival was on 3 January inaugurated by Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit in the presence of theatre personality, Ebrahim Alkazi at Kamani Auditorium, Delhi.
11th BRM: The 11th Bharat Rang Mahotsav, was inaugurated by Jawhar Sircar, Union Secretary for Culture, on 7 January 2009 at Kamani Auditorium, with theatre personality Zohra Sehgal, as the guest of honour, and opened with the performance of the Marathi play "Awagha Rang Ekachi Zaala". The festival focused on the productions by young directors, thus the included plays are collaborative works, based on texts, adaptations and also plays developed through training and workshops, in all it featured 65 plays, 51 from India and 13 international productions, played across 7 venues.
12th BRM: The 2010 Festival, featured close to 90 plays, including 13 international productions, and productions by theatre veterans, Ratan Thiyam's "When we Dead Awaken" and S. Ramanujan's "Veriattam". The festival highlighted the role of music in theatre, through a segment titled Natya Naad, featuring trademark songs of various parts of India and of various theatre personalities, and performances based on the music in the works of B.V. Karanth, Bhaskar Chandavarkar, K. N. Panikkar and Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) music. It also included Parwaz, a puppet theatre group from Kabul, Afghanistan with 'The Wolf and the Goat' and 'The Hedgehog and the Rabbit', a troupe from Pakistan presenting the Urdu version of Kalidas's epic Sanskrit play Shakuntala, plus from Israel, a clown show titled 'Odysseus Chaoticus'.
13th BRM: The 2011 festival showcased 82 plays from across the world, three photographic exhibitions, an Asia-Pacific theatre showcase and new media theatre, from 7 to 22 January. The festival opened with an Assamese adaptation of Habib Tanvir's Charandas Chor directed by Anup Hazarika. Other plays were Girish Karnad's Bikhre Bimb, Dharamveer Bharti's Suraj ka Satwaan Ghoda and Henrik Ibsen's Lady of the Sea (Sagar Kanya), Alexander Pushkin's Little Big Tragedies and Rabindranath Tagore's Visarjan. 22 foreign productions from 20 countries were also part of the festival. The festival was spread across eight venues in the Delhi and also travelled to Chennai.
Venue of Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM) Most of the plays during three weeks of the festival, are held at various theatre spaces within the NSD campus, including, Sanmukh, Abhimanch, Bahumukh and Meghdoot Open Air theatre at neighbouring Ravindra Kala Bhawan. Some plays are also held in city's large auditoriums like Kamani Auditorium, Shri Ram Centre and LTG auditorium.