Girish Karnad's 'Bikhre Bimb' walks away with top META awards

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New Delhi, Mar 7 (UNI) Veteran theatre personalities Arundhati Nag and Bugs Bhargava Krishna were adjudged the best actors at the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) this year for their portrayals in ''Bikhre Bimb'' and 'Jazz' respectively.

While Kerala's entry 'Karnabharam: the Anguish of Karna' was named the Best play, eminent actor-director Girish Karnad recieved the Best Playwright and Best Director (the latter he shared with co-director K M Chaitanya) awards for ''Bikhre Bimb''.

The META honours, the only awards dedicated to theatre in the country, were given away at a glittering function in the capital last evening. The Who's who of the theatre world, including Habib Tanvir, Girish Karnad, Mahesh Dattani, M K Raina, Sushma Seth, Divya Seth Shah, Lillette Dubey, Manoj Bajpai etc--were present on the occasion. Others who graced the occasion included yesteryear star Sharmila Tagore, dansuese Shobhna Narayan, designer Ritu Kumar, etc.

'Karnabharam' which depicts Karna's worries about his birth, social status and caste, also pocketted the Best Costumes Design and the Best Stage design awards.

While Arundhati recieved the honour for her portrayal of Manjula Nayak, a not very successful Kannada short story writer who suddenly becomes famous by writing a best seller in English, Bugs played a musician, portraying images of the same Jazz era.

Pakiza Begum and Manasi Joshi were honoured with the Best Supporting Actor (female) award for 'Rajkumar Hemendrajit' and 'Sangit Giribala' respectively and in the male category, the award was bagged by Danish Murtaza Hussain (Rumi: Unveil the Sun). Abhay Joshi got a special mention for his performance in 'Ilham'.

Dadi Pudumjee bagged the covetted Best Choreographer award for ''Transposition'' by the Ishara Puppet theatre group, which reflected a synthesis between the world and the spirit, between life and death.

The play's Sawan Dutta was chosen for the Best Design award too.

''Sangit Giribala'' based on the famous story 'Maanabhanjan' by Tagore, was named for the 'Best Ensemble' award.

Speaking on the occasion, META creative director Ravi Dubey said the festival showcases the best in theatre, and encourages all aspects of theatre craft such as playwriting, set design, costume and light design, direction and performance.

Divya Seth said,''The awards night was almost like theatre's Oscars. We no longer feel like poor cousins.'' This year META's jury comprised stalwarts Habib Tanvir, Neelam Maan Singh Chowdhury, Mahesh Dattani, Manoj Bajpai and Sushma Seth.

Earlier, a selection committee comprising eminent personalities like Divya Seth Shah, Anuja Sharma, Bishnu Priya Dutt and Jaidev Taneja, had shortlisted ten plays from about 100 entries from across the country.

Nageen Tanvir, daughter of Habib Tanvir presented a Hindustani classical rendition and Vir Das did a stand-up comedy act to cheer the audience at the awards night.

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