‘Natya-Darpan’, a New Jersey-based annual short multi-lingual play festival to showcase social issues, is scheduled to be held at Middlesex County College, Edison, NJ, on March 16.
This year the festival will see Dr. Mohan Agashe, renowned stage and film veteran as a Chief Guest, along with Dr. Farley Richmond from the University of Georgia as the Guest of Honor, according to a press release.
The Consul General of India in New York Sandeep Chakravorty will also be in attendance for the lamp lighting ceremony. The Mayor of West Windsor, Mayor of Edison and many other officials will grace the event too.
The festival has been organized for the last four years by the Indian Heritage & Cultural Association (IHCA-NJ), a volunteer based non-profit cultural organization, dedicated to promoting local talent and preserving the rich heritage of India in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia area through showcasing of performing arts like classical music, dance, and theater.
‘Natya-Darpan’ literally means “the mirror of society through performing arts”. Each year, six to eight highly acclaimed and award-winning US-based theater groups have been performing high-quality short plays in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali and in English on social issues, including women empowerment, immigration, human trafficking, LGBTQ issues, community relationships, mental illness and others.
‘Natya-Darpan’ has received an overwhelming response. That program was partially funded by Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders for the last four years.
IHCA-NJ (www.ihca-nj.com) was founded by Dr. Ashok Chaudhary in the year 2013. The main goal of the association is to bring a variety of highly talented professional local talent and communities together with the common bond of performing arts through different languages. IHCA-NJ membership is open to people of all ages, races, religions and nationalities.
A Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the IICT, India, Dr. Chaudhary is an accomplished scientist and senior manager with more than 25 years of experience overseeing research and development in Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, Merck and Siemens USA.
He has been active in the Marathi community in New Jersey, since 2001 where he was instrumental in promoting arts and culture through several events that he organized.
Dr. Chaudhary says, “It is most rewording to see young writers, actors, directors, musicians from our own community, presents their views through their arts to express very important issues pertinent to our communities, especially those issues which are very close to South Asian communities in USA. Thanks to our members, this year we have generated more curiosity and interest in our program. I hope we continue to get more like-minded people involved as we go ahead.”