Bhopal: Ticketed Theatre Returns After 27 Years; People Pay Up To ₹500

Bhopal: Ticketed Theatre Returns After 27 Years; People Pay Up To ₹500

During Rang mandal’s glorious days, even chief ministers had to queue up to buy tickets

SmitaUpdated: Wednesday, June 19, 2024, 12:08 PM IST
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People buy ticket to watch play 'Agra Bazar' at Ravindra Bhawan in the city on April 28 |

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): After almost 27 years, ticketing culture has returned to city theatre. In last few months, Hum Theatre Group organised shows of several plays on a ticketing basis, with tickets priced up to Rs 500. Tickets were also made available on BookmyShow.com, an internet-based entertainment ticketing portal. And there was no shortage of buyers.

The group first staged, Andha Yug, at Ravindra Bhavan in September last year. The tickets were priced at Rs 100 and the show was a success. Enthused, they held two shows each of Popcorn and Agra Bazar in April this year. The tickets were priced at Rs 200 for Popcorn and Rs 500 for Agra Bazar. Again the audience response was fabulous. Next, the group organised a five-day fest Smaran Habib from June 8 during which Charandas Chor, Agni Aur Barkha, Andha Yug, Yayati and Lala Hardaul were staged.

Tickets costing Rs 50, Rs 100 and Rs 200 were sold offline and online through BookmyShow. “I was surprised to note that Rs 50-ticket was least popular. I was even more surprised when most audience told me that they were willing to pay more for a good play,” said founder of Hum Theatre Group Balendra Singh. The last time audiences in the city paid for watching plays was in 1997 when Rangmandal, the theatre repertory of Bharat Bhavan, sold tickets for Rs 2 to Rs 20.

“At the time, even the chief minister had to buy a ticket to watch play and that too by standing in a queue,” said Alok Chatterjee, a former director of MPSD. “I don’t know how the culture of allowing the audience to watch plays for free came to Bhopal,” said Chatterjee, adding that in places like Patna, Lucknow and Bhubaneswar, entry was never free. “Even in Jabalpur, amateur theatre groups never held free shows,” he said. Actor and director Anoop Joshi ‘Bunty’ has welcomed the move. “We watch films in multiplexes by paying up to Rs 600 for a ticket. Then, why should plays be free?” he said.

Another theatre actor and director Preeti Jha Tiwari said, “We can give some concession to theatre students. Otherwise, everyone should get into habit of paying to watch plays,” she said.

Theatre persons say that ticketed plays would reduce dependence of theatre groups on government grants, thus, freeing them of any pressure from the governments. In any case, they say neither grants nor income from tickets is enough to cover the cost of staging plays. “It is only a support system,” says Anoop.

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