There are people who take their hobby as their profession. The inner peace and joy which they get doing thing push them to give their body and soul. With scintillating performance in over 20 dramas under her belt, theatre still inspires Jyoti Sinha, a young talented artist from Bangladesh, to make stage her lifelong companion. “As long as I live…my life is nothing beyond theatre”, says the artist.
Jyoti has come a long way in her theatre journey. Till the age of 17 or 18, theatre was not more than any hobby for her — beyond singing, dancing and acting; now, it has become a medium of artistic expression for her. Her perception towards theatre changed when she went for higher study. “When I got admitted in Jahangirnuger University, and started studying Anthropology, I realized my social condition not only as a girl from an ethnic minority but also as a human being” says the young artist.
This maturity mellowed her talent to enact various shades of characters on stage. She acted princess in Ajobpurer Borshoboron which is her first stage performance, Shri Radha in Srikrisnakirtan, combative woman in Chondrokola, a young man in Kanailaler Sanai, a tyrant in Rudrachanda, quarrelsome queen in Laxmi Githanok, a widow and a mother in Debotar Gras, and four epic women in Kohe Birangona. Kohe Birangona came as a turning point in her career. The staging of the drama brought her near to the people and to the art critics. Many critics have called her acting technique as “Post Modern”. Where Ferdousi Mojumdar has blessed her for long life as an actress, contemporary artist Ritu Sattar was too elated with her performance in the drama Kohe Birangona, that as a token of appreciation he awarded her his gold ring. What more, a spectator watched the drama seven times!
Behind love and appreciation of the audience but what goes into the making of an artist that is also of a minority language speaker to perform in a different language especially with poetic dialogues! Jyoti overcame this hurdle with practice and dhyan and her belief upon the artistic medium that all the languages of art are an artist’s mother tongue. She believes diversity and dimensions are necessary for an artist like her and language is one aspect of it. “Life is too short, but creative individuals have immense work to do in this short life,” she says.
Nevertheless, being a woman she had to face her own share of problems in her endeavor. Her initial days were not smooth and easy going as she had to face gender biasness. But it never bogged her down to the criticism hurled upon her. She silenced everyone by proving her new-found place as an artist in the world of theatre. “When I succeeded in proving my personality as an artist throughout the country (Bangladesh), all anti-voices were dissolving into silence,” she said.
Her recent new-found success came with her participation in two of the biggest international drama festivals in Dhaka and her tour to India. The young artist got an awe-inspiring response from the art fraternity and from the public alike. Sharing her experience, she said, “Never had I thought so much honour would be showered upon me… (the) love and respect (bestowed upon me) is unbelievable, unforgettable”.
Speaking about the current status of theatre in Bangladesh, she said that it is very diverse in themes and it is taken as a strong art medium. Young skilled directors are experimenting to use folk forms and thus giving shape to national drama in the country. To the question — where does minority-speaking language drama fit in the scene of national drama in Bangladesh? She said, “We (the Manipuri theatre) bear a smooth, lyrical, poetic, and sweet spiritual emotion in our performance; and a perfect body movement and energetic rhythmic acting style specify our presentation…they (Bengali theatre groups) warmly appreciate us”.
If someone is happy in the truest sense in the transformation of Jyoti Sinha becoming a promising artist, it is no other than Shuvashis Sinha, who discovered her talent and gave her the first opportunity to act in his drama Ajobpurer Borshoboron. Shuvashis, whom Jyoti take as her guru, still teaches her to learn the nuances of theatre.
Adapted from “Interview with Jyoti Sinha — The Spectacular Theatre Artist” Firaal, April 2012.