Sundeep Bhutoria

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Theatre time

The last week was a `theatre week' for me. On the eighth of this month I saw a play Arms and the Man at Kalamandir directed by Naseeruddin Shah based on George Bernard Shaw's popularcomedy. Though, based on a popular work, Naseeruddin's directorial inputs were quite evident.
On February 10th I went to Vidyamandir to watch another play of Paresh Rawal, Krishan vs Kanhaiya,and a day later on Sunday I saw Bratya Basus Ruddha Sangeet.
The three plays reflected three different moods. While Arms and The Man was in English, Krishan vs Kanhaiya was a Hindi comedy and Ruddha Sangeet was based on Bratya Ganer Ruddha Sangeet (The Stifled Music of an Untouchable) - a story by one of Bengal's greatest Rabindra Sangeetsingers, Debabrata Biswas, known by his nicknameGeorge da”.He was even more popular because of his `improvisations' or `melodic excesses' on the established and rigid tune-notations of Tagore songs and also for his inclinations to use Western musical instruments.
In Bratya's version, there was also a scene in which Jyoti Basu, Nirmal Ghose and Pramod Dasgupta's characters were shown. There ere quite a few innuendos on Marxism.
Earlier this week, I had a meeting with the Kolkata Police regarding Pronam members' annualfunction, we decided on the play Natir Pooja directed by Kaushal Ganguly in which Arpita Chatterjee has acted. The play is based on Rabindranath Tagores story. The programme is slated for March 16, 2012 at Vidyamandir.
This week Bratya's theatre group was present at a theatre festival in Kolkata which drew Mahesh Bhatt, Amal Allana and Manoj Vajpayee to Kolkata. I think that after a long time the city has hosted so many theatres within such a short time.
When I went to watch the three plays, I was rather surprised to find that at the Vidyamandir and Kalamandir, mobile phones were buzzing in between when the play was on despite announcement at the start of the event requesting the audience to put their mobile phones in silent mode. During the interval, many people were out enjoying samosas and coffee at the in house canteens, but their extended tea break continued even when the play resumed.
In contrast, during the play staged at Rabindra Sadan, not a single mobile phone rang and everyone had finished their lemon tea and moori badam well in time to be back in their seats before the play resumed.
Another thing I observed was that the audience of Vidya Mandir and Kalamandir, except for few of the front rows, by and large were in a hurry to leave the auditorium while the actor and director were on the dais. In Rabindra Sadan, no one left before curtains fell.
The tickets for Vidyamandir and Kalamandir were priced as donation between Rs 1000 to Rs 2500 against Rabindra Sadan's Rs 40, Rs 50 and Rs 60. Well, someone has rightly said it,Money cant buy you culture.
I must thank a new company in this town Leopard Creations and Maggi for bringing some of the national theatres to Kolkata.
ess bee

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