Mime creates everything from nothing,Niranjan Goswami on the silent expression
It creates visible from the invisible,everything from nothing,various illusions through simple movements…mime as Niranjan Goswami sees it,is the silent communicator. Acclaimed and awarded for the development of mime theatre in India,Goswami,recipient of the Padmashree and the Sangeet Natak Akademi award,says mime,the art of silent expression is an interplay of body and mind. The body will only express when the mind influences it. Even lifting your hand is not possible if your mind says no, Niranjan is here at the Department of Indian Theatre,PU,to help students recreate movement and expression. From how to walk gracefully,coordination between hand and feet,use of 36 glances,the correct body language….mime,believes Niranjan,can train both the body and mind. I learnt mime from Jogesh Dutta and was drawn to it so much that I decided to pursue it without passion and do nothing else. I took up no job,for I wanted to develop it in the country. There were many questions,does mime have Indian roots,are we copying a European art,many myths and stereotypes like mime being performed only in black costumes,with white faces,a repetition of the same act et al. But as I studied the history of Indian theatre,I realized that Mukabhinaya is what we call Indian mime,muk means silence in Sanskrit and the techniques of mime are in Natyashastra and that it has a close connection with classical dance,folk theatre forms.
Mime,he agrees is a contemporary art form for it began developing in India only in the 60s and Niranjan says its not related to rhyme or rhythm,but is an integral part of the act,and can complement dance too. Research,development,performances,workshops,we do it all at the Indian Mime Theatre which was set up in Kolkata in 76. Everything in mime comes from day-to-day life,we use mudras and improvise a situation,be it poetry,a folk tale,social issues,short stories,ours is prose-poetry,sans much symmetry. Mime is in-between dance and theatre and is aesthetic enjoyment,and I have experimented with various techniques like the silhouette,surreal method and its all action-oriented,reaching out and communicating to one and all through music,gestures,movements and expressions.