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‘Badal Sircar and The Alternative Theatre’ which recreates the life of the unsung legend shown at IFFI52 Indian Panorama

We require theatre and cinema to shake off complacency of the present day society: Director Ashoke Viswanathan

Posted On: 24 NOV 2021 9:39PM by PIB Mumbai

Panaji, 24 November 2021


“Badal Sircar, the redoubtable playwright, theatre activist, dialogue writer, film actor and philosopher was somewhat unsung. He didn’t receive the recognition of large scale. Badal Sircar and The Alternative Theatre is a dialectical, polemical, quasi-documentary through which we have tried to recreate the life of this legend, with whom I had the chance to work with”, said the Director Ashoke Viswanathan.

While addressing a presser on the sidelines of 52nd IFFI in Panaji, Goa today, Viswanathan said that the world has suddenly become a very violent and combative place. The true talent is not recognized as we are too busy in our little cocoons.

“We are living in a highly politicized society today. So we require theatre and cinema of this nature to shake off the complacency of the middle and upper class”, said the Director.

He said that Badal Sircar is someone who worked outside the mainstream and didn’t believe in the proscenium theatre.  “So my film is about the theoretical implications of a drama outside the proscenium. Like just here in the midst of us. A drama in which the actors just don’t talk to the audience, they will interact with the audience and even touch them, feel them”, he added.

Speaking more about Badal Sircar’s contribution, the Director said that he was not just a Bengali play writer. His major work was at FTII, Pune where he taught and he was well known to people like Amol Palekar.

Viswanathan said that he has tried to highlight something hither to unknown to the world theatre. “I have not only praised him, but also critiqued him in this film”, he added.

Answering a query on the idea of this film, he said, “I conceived this idea long back based on my interactions with Badal Sircar and others at FTII. But the film could be completed only after I got assistance from Eastern Zonal Council, Ministry of Culture."



(Indian Panorama Non-Feature Films Category)

About the Director: Ashoke Viswanathan is a multiple National and International award winning filmmaker, theatre person and professor at SRFTI, Kolkata. An FTII graduate, he has won two National Awards and worked in 40 plays & 11 feature films, etc.

Producer: Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC), of the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, endeavours to preserve and protect India’s rich cultural heritage.

About the Film: This documentary assesses and critiques the work of the celebrated playwright and theatre director Badal Sircar. Using his journey as the central theme, the film explores the relevance and impact of Alternative Theatre (or the Third Theatre) in the global context. It features debate among the experts on the theory and practice of Alternative Theatre. It concludes on an enigmatic note as the great man disappears into the madness of his solitary creativity, leaving all of us to debate his significance.

Cast & Crew

Screenplay: Ashoke Viswanathan

DOP: Sanatanu Banerjee

Editor: Sounak Roy

Cast: Badal Sircar, Pankaj Munshi, Kamal Roy

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Read this release in: Urdu , Marathi , Hindi