Sunday, 15 April 2012

Maitree Bandhan brings brotherhood on stage

KOLKATA: The second lap of Maitree Bandhan, the joint initiative between The Times of India and Bangladesh's leading newspaper Prothom Alo, kick-started with a bang on Saturday and the timing - a Nobobarsho evening - couldn't have been better to bring blood brothers India and Bangladesh together.

So if the first part of the initiative was celebrated with music of the two countries, the second phase promises to be a literary festival where there will be the best of theatre, literary discussions, readings and performances. The festival started with two plays - Kahe Birangana, an adaptation of Michael Madhusudan Dutta's Birangana Kabya based on the leading women of Mahabharata, and Samudrer Mouna, a play by Koushik Sen's theatre group Swapna Sandhani.

Kahe Birangana - a Bishnupriya Manipuri play - has been created by Shubhashish Sinha from Bangladesh. Since it is difficult to translate Michael's Bengali idioms into Manipuri, the original Bengali verses were used with Manipuri dance forms in the four parts that were staged. Each part spoke about the valour of the women in question - her passion, her anger, her love and finally her insurmountable pain after she loses her most loved possession. It spoke of Shakuntala, Draupadi, Dusshala and Jona.

All the four parts were played by Jyoti Sinha. The audience was captivated by her stellar performance as she moved effortlessly from one mood to another and from one character to another. At one moment she was playing the distraught Dusshala crying her heart out for her dead son Abhimanyu. A moment later, she was the valiant Jona accusing husband Niloddhoj for making peace with the victorious Arjun.

The second play - Samudrer Mouno - was an adaptation of French wartime novel The Silence Of the Sea. The English version of the play was translated by Bengali poet Bishnu Dey. In 2005, Kaushik Sen adapted the Bengali version for his play.

As usual, Sen enthralled the audience as the Nazi officer who came to stay in the house of a German gentleman and his niece as Germany took over France. This officer was different from the run-of-the-mill captor. He dreamt that one day Germany and France would be friends and the war would stop forever. Unfortunately, that remains his distant dream and he realizes that ultimately.

However, despite the officer's best efforts he is unable to break the silence of the gentleman and his niece. The woman finally speaks to him for the first time to wish him adieu when the officer prepares to leave.

Sen was able to take the audience to the phase when Hitler ruled and Germany raged in a war-torn world. By the end of the play, Sen's portrayal of the officer torn between his duty and his heart succeeded in hypnotizing all who were present at GD Birla Sabhagar, where the second phase of Maitree Bandhan kicked off.

Courtesy: The Times Of India
Photo Courtesy: Swapan Kumar Sinha
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