Maharashtra has a glorious past of theaters and films that are inherent in its culture. The unparallel craze for theaters in Maharashtra is well-known. There is no death of talented writers, directors, and actors in the state; the receptive audience which plays a major motivational factor for film-makers also forms an inseparable part of this cultural extravaganza.
The never-ending spirit and zeal of the directors who are generally inspired from day to day life and real life stories has remained a substantial support for the ever growing popularity of theaters in Maharashtra. While this art is at its ebb in other parts of India, the Maharashtra theaters are still in their infancy. There are myriad topics that have never been covered or untouched. Apart from Marathi, the theaters of this state also showcase culture and life of other regional Languages. As the audience feels connected with these plays, they remain ever-popular. In fact, a theater in Maharashtra is a medium of expression rather than a source of entertainment. There, it is a serious business for playwrights, directors and actors.
There is a touch of reality in these plays; most of the themes focus on problems concerning a common man, his hopes and aspirations. The actors try not to exaggerate; their expressions are the embodiment of the issues of real life. Some of the plays are either adaptations or translations from other languages. The theater as a medium of communication is so strong that people from all the classes, whether rich or poor, privileged or underprivileged, can feel connected with it. Even a man living on the humblest means can be a source of inspirations to the play wrights and directors.
As far as the movie theaters are concerned, there is no scarcity of them either. They are the popular source of entertainment these days. Mumbai is the main hub of movie-theaters in Maharashtra. Every year, directors give shape to their fancy ideas in the form of movies that are admired by the audience. Life in the metropolitan city cannot be imagined without movies. The overseas popularity of Bollywood is well known.
In order to carry over the tradition of theater art to the coming generations, numerous workshops are organized from time to time. These workshops are meant for encouraging playwrights to come up with creative ideas. It also provides base for showcasing the upcoming talent in the industry. Way back in 1972, Satyadev Dubey, the renowned writer-director organized these workshops for promoting Marathi and Hindi cinema. Names like Rajeev Naik, Chetan Datar, and Shafad Khan have found a prominent place in the history of workshops.
Theater Academy, based in Pune, plays a vital role in organizing these workshops. A majority of the entries into State Drama Competition of Maharashtra are derived from these workshops only. There are about 450 entries coming from about 40 centers that participate in this competition. A majority of the plays that are showcased are original works of the playwrights. This is an evidence for the popularity and wide acceptance of art of theaters in Maharashtra.
Apart from commercial forms, Folk theater is also in full vogue in the state. Tamasha is an art form that is a part of entertainment in modern era. It is an age old art that was also prevalent in Mughal period. In fact, it was considered an erotic form of pleasure that was used to entertain Marathi and Mughal armies. Even today, Tamasha is popular among masses. Played in two forms, Tamasha is performed as a dance-song troupe and folk drama.
The art of theaters is going to survive for a long period in this state; its immense popularity and proximity to realism can be cited as the reasons for it.