Ank is a regularly performing Hindi Theatre group in Mumbai and has completed 43 years of regular theatre activity in Hindi with 85 quality plays and more than 7500 successful shows all over the country as well as overseas, making it one of the largest performing teams in Hindi in the country. Ank was created by Dinesh Thakur who had himself notched up nearly five decades of experience in Theatre. Theatre for Ank is not only entertainment, but a source of respite as well as rejuvenation to the audience and the performer; a custodian of values as well as a statement of cultural individuality in society.
Starting with almost non-existent Hindi theatre audiences in Mumbai, Ank took upon itself the task of not only creating a regular Hindi theatre-going and ticket buying audience but also of laying the foundations and holding together a group of committed and dedicated theatre workers. Today, Ank’srepetoire has run the entire gamut from original works in Hindi to the best in national and international theatre, from the thought-provoking and the serious to the tragical, from court-room dramas and the hilarious to the deeply comical and outright farcical.
It was Ank’s `Hai Mera Dil’ which gave Prithvi theatre its first housefull and has now become the longest running comedy in the history of Hindi theatre with 1147 shows. Plays like Vijay Tendulkar’s `Anji’(760 shows), `Khamosh! Adalat Jari Hai’, and `Jaat Hi Poocho Sadhu Ki’, Mohan Rakesh’s `AadheAdhoore’, Mahesh Elkunchwar’sAtmakatha’, adaptation’s like `BeewionKaMadarsa’(830 shows), `BhaagamBhaag’(664 shows), `TerePyar Mein’, `Tum Kya Jano Preet’ and Javed Siddiqui’s `Hamesha’ are prominent among Ank’s repertoire.
Ank first took the initiative of staging 25 continuous shows of its classic farce ‘Jaane Na Doongi’ and then 30 continuous shows of Girish Karnad’s monumental classic 'Tughlaq'.It was Ank’s prerogative to honour and felicitate theatre persons from Gujarati, Marathi, English and Hindi, critics, benefactors as well as well-wishers as a gesture of goodwill. Recognizing the great contribution of playwrights, Ank in its 24th year felicitated Vijay Tendulkar as the playwright of the millenium and performed 6 of his plays through the year
Our Founder president and Director Shri Dinesh Thakur was awarded The Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Direction for 2009. Dineshji is also the recipient of the Rajasthan State Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. He was also awarded the V.Shantaram Lalit Kala Hindi Vishisht Sewa Award by the Maharashtra State Hindi Sahitya Akademy for his contribution in Theatre. Ank is also probably the only theatre group to have donned the mantle of cultural ambassadors when invited by the Government of Mauritius to perform during our Republic day celebrations in that country. Very unfortunately we lost our Founder Director, Dineshji on the 20th September 2012. We have been left terribly aggrieved and bereft but are determined to carry on his awesome legacy. We pray that we are able to do justice to it.
Ank, now under the stewardship of Preeta Mathur Thakur, continues to seek unique horizons of growth. Ank has in the last two years taken upon itself to entertain the Indian Armed forces under the aegis of the State Bank of India initiative by performing our popular and meaningful entertainers like HAI MERA DIL and JIS LAHORE NAHI DEKHYA in the border areas of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Jammu. It has been our great pleasure to be able to entertain our Army personnel who in desolate border areas are deprived of entertainment with substance. In our series of working with eminent directors of national repute, Ank staged Krishna Sobti’s MITRO MARJANI directed by Shri Devendra Raj Ankur (Ex-Director National School of drama) in May 2013 and production KAAMIYA under the direction of Shri Ram Gopal Bajaj (Ex-Director National School of drama) in May, 2014. Ank opened its 82nd production, ATKE BHATKE LATKE SUR – a comedy in two solo acts written & directed by Ashok Mishra in December 2014.BEEWION KA MADARSA,directed by Atul Mathur premiered in April 2016 at NCPA’s Ananada Hindi NatyaUtsav to a delightful reception
We had aimed to mark our 40 years milestone with Festivals in various Indian cities like Jaipur, Bikaner, Bhopal, Delhi, Jabalpur, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Dehradun, Begusarai (Bihar), Kanpur, Lucknow and Kolkatta in partnership with local theatre groups or associations. We are delighted to share that the first festival at Bhopal -23-25 September 2016 in association with Vihaan of Bhopal was a resounding success. 40 years celebration in Mumbai in two 2-day festivals in Mumbai in October 2016 and November 2016 were an exhilarating experience. The Bikaner Theatre Festival dedicated to Dinesh Thakur, 5-8 March 2017 was a resounding success with 13 plays from outside teams, 6 short plays of local groups, Theatre talks and workshops. Our festival in association with Vivechana in Jabalpur 14-16 April is set to become a regular annual future.
We continued to further mark our 40th anniversary with a Festival in Jaipur 9-12 August 2017 in collaboration with IPTA Jaipur celebrating Dinesh Thakur’s 70th Birth Anniversary and 75 glorious years of IPTA, and then Theatrefest2017 in Dehradun hosted by NGO REACH in the memory of DINESH THAKUR from 10-14 November 2017 in participation with ANK and also Ratan Thiyam’s CHORUS Repertory Manipur. We were also able to perform two of our solo shows, ATKE BHATKE LATKE SUR in Lucknow after more than 30 years.
The first chapter of Ank’s 42nd Anniversary Festival Celebrating Dinesh Thakur at Bhopal in September 2018 was an amazing experience. The second chapter at Agra October 2018 was absolutely enthralling with great coverage and a terrific audience response –it was as if the whole city was celebrating our 7 day festival. We also had an opportunity to participate in an International show at Dastak 2018 in November 2018 in Singapore with 6 shows of our Hindi play EK DIN BANK MEIN which was adjudged the best of the 10 short pieces on show .
Ank continued its 42nd Anniversary Celebration in Ajmer June 15-16 2019 to great critical appreciation from the press & audiences. In its tradition of innovation, Ank produced its first Children’s play, ‘AKAL KI PUDIYA’at the Prithvi Summer Time Festival in June 2019 and is all set to take it to schools across the country.‘HAMARI NEETA KI SHADI’(July 2019) our second new production of the year has opened to very good reviews and terrific response. Another new play based on Kiran Nagarkar’s Cuckold is planned for 2019.