Bhopal: Collage of four stories ‘Parsi Rangmanch Ke Manjaron Ka Guldasta’ were presented at MP School of Drama (MPSD) on Monday. Directed by Ayaz Khan, the play was based on Parsi Theatre, which is the first professional theatre in the country. The one-hour-fifteen minute play comprised of four stories including ‘Delli Darbar,’ ‘Laila Majnu,’ ‘Shirin Farhad’ and ‘Silver King’. MPSD students introduced the audience about Parsi theatre through long dialogue, shayaris, colourful costumes and decoration of sets. Nearly 19 songs of that era were used in it.
Parsi theatre is a generic term for an influential theatre tradition, staged by Parsis, and theatre companies largely-owned by the Parsi business community, which flourished between 1850 and 1930s. The plays were in Gujarati, Hindi and Urdu, and after its beginning in Bombay, soon it developed into various travelling theatre companies, which toured across India, especially north and western India (now Gujarat and Maharashtra), popularizing proscenium-style theatre in regional languages.
The British community in Bombay had been staging theatre in English language for sometime by the mid-19th century. Parsis were a prominent business community in the city. In early 1850s, the students of Elphinstone College in Mumbai had formed a dramatic society and started performing Shakespeare. The first Parsi Theatre company called “P?rs? N??ak Ma??ali” performed their first play Roostum Zabooli and Sohrab in 1853, followed by King Afrasiab and Rustom Pehlvan and P?d??h Faredun. By 1860 over 20 Parsi theatre groups were formed in Mumbai