Sunday, February 07, 2016

Print at NSD’s Bharat Rang Mahotsav

Like the way Bhakti poets saw God everywhere, we print people tend to see print everywhere. We would attend a public event and the first thing we would notice would be the prints. We would carefully study the quality of the wide-format displays, their substrate, their design and colour, the quality of the print job. We would try to guess which machine was used, or perhaps, which printer did the job.

This is exactly what happened when we visited the 18th Bharat Rang Mahotsav, the annual International theatre festival hosted by the National School of Drama, which is on from 1-21 February 2016 at its premises in New Delhi.

What caught our attention were the large posters, depicting the scenes from the plays to be performed, adorning the outer walls of the venue, from the Mandi House Metro station to all the way across Bhagwan Das Road, where the institute is located. The life-like pictures of the stage actors in the middle of their act (printed on flex), next to the busy sidewalk, is indeed a heartening sight, especially in our time when such large OOH displays are reserved for promoting multinational companies.

Talking about posters, the NSD building is a veritable museum of classic theatre posters, from pre-Independence to the heydays of 1970s to our time. Printed on A3 size paper, in multicolour, NSD has loving framed and displayed the posters of all the plays that were performed at the institute over the years. While the posters themselves are a study in the changing style of design and representation, they also hold within them the living history of the Indian theatre.

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