Vol. 4 Num 176 Thu. November 20, 2003  

Phulrani Aami Tia
A play in quest of women's lib

Munira Yousuf Memi, a Natyajan artiste, recently staged her solo performance Phulrani Aami Tia, which is the 5th production of the group. A joint production of Bangladesh and India, the play is written and directed by renowned drama personality Dr. Kuntal Mukherjee of India. Memi went to Kolkata several times to work with Dr. Mukherjee for rehearsing before the first show on April 6, 2002 there.

It was the 16th show of the play in Dhaka.The play is against torture and oppression on women the world over.. In the play, we get the story of two women--one is our contemporary named Tia and the other one belongs to the early 20th century India named Phulrani.

Going through the personal diary of the latter, Tia comes to know that she died at the age of twenty-four caused by the cruelty of her in-laws and society at large. She finds the existence of Phulrani within her as, she thinks, she is also facing the same situation in this male-dominated society that Phulrani faced at that time. This has given the play an age- old appeal.

The dialogue of the play is poetic in nature. The playwright has interpreted the issue from mythological, religious and historical point of view. That is why he has used many allusions in dialogue diction which is difficult to handle for a performer.

As a director Dr. Kuntal Mukherjee's approach is totally different from the work of our traditional directors. He has used the projector three times to depict Memi as Phulrani whereas Memi appears as Tia five times live on stage. However, display through a projector which is two-dimensional may be enjoyable but does not suit the stage which is three-dimensional. Memi has successfully handled rhythmic dialogues which is not an easy task..

Master of lighting Tapas Sen has again fulfilled the demand of the production by his illusive work. Set designer Uttam Guho, who is a regular worker of Natyajan, has also done his work successfully.

As a solo performer, Memi is mature enough. In the sub-continent, a very few number of artistes have performed solo on stage. She has communicated well with light cues, which has enriched her performance, especially her facial expressions. This technique of co-ordination with the light can be an example for the theatre artistes. Memi has been exceptional at handling two characters simultaneously.

Munira Yousuf Memi