Bharat Rang Mahotsav draws to an end with Bengali plays
If the theatre group treats you to a sandesh and anoints you with scent before you take your seat for the play,you expect something sweet to unfold on the stage.
However,for director Santanu Bose: “Sweet and scent were necessary,because the play is sure to make the audience uneasy.” His presentation of Sophocles’s Antigone succeeded in its mission,in that the viewers actually protested against a few scenes in the play that was staged at the Rai Umanath Bali auditorium on the concluding day of the Bharat Rang Mahotsav on Monday evening.
The play is based on the Greek legend of Antigone,who takes on the establishment for not granting her permission to perform the last rites of one of her two brothers who died fighting on opposite sides of the border. The tale of confrontation between the individual and the establishment was portrayed in the present context with politics of division ruling the roost,resulting in gory violence and people turning inhuman.
“The inspiration is drawn from the recent Nandigram and Singur incidents in which scores of people lost lives because of conflicts of opinion between two political outfits. Alarmingly,even as people searched for bodies,the focus was not on the fact that human blood was spilling but who was winning the war,” says Bose.
Wanting to spread the message that human beings have learnt to live with violence around,the play has Kolkata’s chicken market in the background.
“A majority of people get involved in the plot and ignore the gory scenes of birds getting butchered to show how people have learnt to live with violence,” said Bose.
A Saltlake Monirath Group Theatre presentation,the play used interesting music,dialogue from the film Chak De and a remix of Nagarjuna’s rather controversial poem,taken from the film Strings. “To draw young audience you have to infuse energy,” he explained,claiming the play was an instant hit in Bengal. Clearing the air on controversial lyrics of the title song,Bose said it had been taken from a film that was released years ago. The other attraction of the concluding day was the play Amputation staged at UP Sangeet Natak Akademi. That theatre has a language of its own was reiterated by organisers of the event to interest viewers in plays in languages other than English and Hindi. But this play,belied the statement in that there was lengthy dialogue/ monologue in chaste Bengali. Presented by a Bangladeshi troupe,it aimed at making a sharp comment on the cold-blooded profiteering practised by those in the noble profession of medicine. But the presentation was shoddy,the pitch was shrill and scenes were at times too gory,gross.