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Jammu, Jun 6 :-
Natrang Director Balwant Thakur left here today for Imphal (Manipur) to participate the National General Council meeting on the performing arts of India being rganized by National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama (Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi). The most celebrated top cultural personalities of India have been invited to participate in this prestigious national meet in which the futuristic vision of the performing arts of India will be deliberated. The prominent among them who have been invited includes Pt. Birju Maharaj, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Rudraprasad Sengupt, Bombay Jayashri, F. Wasifuddin Dagar, Atul Tiwari, Dadi. D. Pudumjee, Waman Kandre Director National School of Drama, Chya Ganguly, Ajay Chakarborty, Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Kermane Shivananda Hegde, and Yella Ventakateswara Rao. This National meet at Imphal is mandated to formulate policies and programmes aimed at the preservation, promotion and projection of the priceless cultural legacy of India. This part of the country is being represented by Balwant Thakur who is the highest Indian honour holder in performing arts in addition to Padamshree to his credit has always been advocating and fighting for the cause of culture particularly of the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Conferred with Padamshree, Balwant Thakur is one of the most celebrated theatre directors of the country who has given a new identity to the theatre of the region through his highly innovative and creative works which won for him and this region a global recognition and acclaim. Decorated with the highest Indian honor in performing arts i.e, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Direction in theatre, Balwant Thakur is credited for being the youngest theatre director of India who has participated over Three hundred Fifty National Theatre Festivals as director, which is a record in the country. Known as a magic man of theatre, his outstanding visual poetics on stage like ‘Ghumayee’ ‘Bawa Jitto’ ‘Suno Eh Kahani’ ‘Chauraha’ and ‘Mahabhoj’ have vibrated the theatre scene of India. Credited for bringing Dogri theatre to the National and International limelight, he has been highly instrumental in creating a new cultural renaissance in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.Recognizing his outstanding contribution in Indian theatre, the Department of Culture, Govt. of India Awarded him the National Senior fellowship for three years to do research on the performing modes of Jammu. In 1992 he was decorated with yet another prestigious award of the country i.e, ‘Sanskriti Award’ for direction in theatre, which is given once in three years to a theatre person. Same year he got The Ford Foundation (USA) Grant Award for his research project ‘Search for a New Theatre Language’. This gave a new flip to his creative endeavours and he won the rarest honors like ‘Abhinayak Samman’ ‘Saptrishi Samman’ ‘Naksha Samman’ and ‘Kala Nidhi Purskar’ ‘Pearls of India Award’ . In Children’s theatre, Balwant Thakur is one among the very few theatre directors of the country who have revolutionized the theatre scene and have evolved a new dramaturgy for children. His plays like ‘Mere Hisse Ki Dhoop Kahan Hai’ ‘Aap Hamare Hain Kaun’ ‘Hum Hain Naa’ and ‘Bhag Beta Bhag’ are being credited as the most demanded children productions which have been featured in almost all the major theatre events in India. As playwright he has twelve original plays to his credit which are considered as one of the significant contribution to Indian Theatre in the post India Independence period.
His most regarded initiative ‘Theatre for a Social change’ under which he conducted five hundred shows in the remote villages of J&K brought a revolutionary change in the mindset of the rural folk of the Indo-Pak border villages from Nagri (Kathua) to Kupwara (Kashmir). Back home he was honored by Dogri Sanstha, Jammu Citizen Council, Chamber of Commerce, Amar Rajput Sabha, Brahamin Prathinidhi Sabha, J&K Fine Arts Society, Zorawar Singh Memorial Committee, Laddakh Theatre Organisation and Bakshi Memorial Committee, Manch Rangmanch, Punjab Naatshalla, Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi, Kerala Sangeet Natak Akademi, Abhinaya Kala Mandir, Naksha Gobardanga (West Bengal) and Punjab Arts Council. He has also been honored with the title ‘Duggar Rattan’. In 2005 he won the best Director Award in the Ist Doordarshan Theatre Festival. In 2011 he was honored by the Royal Award ‘Maharaja Gulab Singh Memorial Award-2011’, Gursharan Singh Commitment to Theatre Award (World Theatre Day Honor of Punjab Govt)-2013. ‘Rabindranath Tagore Award- 2013, He was conferred PADAMSHREE by President of India in 2013. BIG Duggar Award for Theatre- 2015.
Prithvi Raj Kapoor Samman-2017, and Highest State honour of J&K Government ‘Life-Time Achievement Award-2018’ for Art and Culture by J&K Government. He worked as Secretary J&K Academy of Art Culture and Languages for eight years. Among many accomplishments, under his creative guidance the State of J&K won Best tableaux Award for the first time in 1997 and continued the tradition of winning Best Awards in 1999 and 2001.He also served on the Boards of prestigious Institutions of the country including, Department of Culture, Govt. of India, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, North Zone Cultural Centre, Council for Promotion of Urdu Language and as an expert for National School of Drama, Department of Culture, M.P., Department of Language & Culture, H.P. and Association of Indian Universities.
Widely travelled Balwant Thakur held his presentations in Bangkok (Thailand) Singapore, London, Oxford, Brighton, Manchester, Stratford, Berlin, Frankfurt, (Germany), Rome (Italy) Moscow, Yoroslov, Belgrade, St. Petersburg, Shanghai,, Beijing, Xining,, Nanjing, Turkey, Almaty, Bishkek, Denmark, Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhaabi, and Dhaka.
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