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Kewal Dhaliwal is living his dream by bringing back glory to Somtimespassion is enough to make the world go round, and sometimes that is THE thing that makes the world go round. Either ways some people ensure that whether or not they have anything else going their way, they will never fall short of this ingredient. Kewal Dhaliwal is one of those few people. This Amritsar based theatre director was in town for the fifth Gursharan Singh Naat Utsav. "Dreams die without passion, no artist can afford that," smiles Dhaliwal whose theatre group Manch-Rangmanch is a platform for intellectual exchanges, an institution dedicated to social change and a desired destination of artists.
Dhaliwal brought to Chandigarh 'Dhamak Nagare Dee', based on the heroics of Dulla Bhatti - a folk legend of Punjab. "In line with the festival's theme, the play epitomizes social change. Dulla Bhatti lead an agrarian revolution against Akbar by refusing to pay taxes for the land he owned and ploughed. If you look at the current scenario in Punjab, the play is still relevant today where farmers are committing suicides due to burden of taxes et al," explains Dhaliwal who started his career with Gursharan Singh. Though the National School of Drama, Delhi, opened many avenues for him, Dhaliwal chose to stick to his roots and work in Punjab. "I was clear about theatre before I joined NSD. I am not against films but it's theatre that I express through the best."
His biggest challenge has been bringing Punjabi language theatre at par with other regional theatres of the country. "I started theatre activities in Amritsar when terrorism was at full swing. But getting Punjabi theatre the same respect as Marathi or Bengali theatre got proved equally hard. Unlike them we don't have ticket system in our part of the country. Despite that we have moved beyond them. Now not only Manch-Rangmanch, but groups like Punjab Naatshala and Rangmanch Bhawan are flourishing without government aid," says Dhaliwal, happy that Punjabi is gaining popularity nationally and internationally.
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