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"Theatre is in no way secondary to films"

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National award winning Bollywood actress Seema Biswas, best known for her Bandit Queen (1994), based on the life of notorious Phoolan Devi, was in the capital on Tuesday to participate in the fifth National Theatre Festival that commenced in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday.

Speaking at an open forum at the festival (organized by the Information and Public Relations Department), she said that theatre is a strong medium capable of effectively portraying social issues. "Theatre is in no way secondary to films, and whatever the medium, the thrust on humanity is the most important aspect," she added.

Seema Biswas is not new to the Malayalam drama world as she has already acted in some Malayalam plays. Talking about her experience in Malayalam, she said that it was possible for her to act in a Malayalam drama, overcoming the language barrier through voice modulation and body language. Asked if she preferred portraying strong characters, Seema Biswas replied that she was striving to obliterate such distinctions.

The festival, being held at Tagore Theatre and Vyloppilly Samskruthi Bhavan till March 12, features the plays of famous directors Jyothish M.G. (Malayalam), Kirti Jain (Hindi), Shanmugaraja (Tamil), Zuilekha Choudhary (English), Pabitra Rabha (Garo), Maya Krishna Rao (Multilingual), Sankar Venkateswaran (Malayalam-Japanese), Santanu Bose (Bengali), Anuradha Kapur (Hindi) and Veenapani Chawla (Malayalam-English). It focuses on the theme "Modern and Contemporary Theatre".

Meanwhile, director K.G. Jyothish, maker of the play Macbeth in Malayalam, said during a 'face-to-face' programme that an open-minded approach towards experiments in theatre was necessary. "People have started accepting new experiments in dance and theatre. Use of video projections in drama was started in Europe in the 70s. There is no harm in using new techniques in drama as long as it does not affect the essence of the play," he said, adding that he had experimented with new techniques in Macbeth, keeping intact the essence of the Shakespearean play.

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