Vol. 4 Num 236 Thu. January 22, 2004  

Folk Drama Festival 2004 begins at the Shilpakala Academy

To promote the elementary folk drama widely known as Jatra Pala and to protect this folk culture from obliteration, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy arranges a weeklong folk festival every year. The academy has organised this festival at the open premises of the National Natyashala with seven Jatra Operas from Kushtia, Mymensingh, Meherpur, Dhaka, Tangail, Narayanganj and Shatkhira.

In the inaugural day the Protyasha Opera of Meherpur performed a Pala titled Bedkonya. The story of this Pala is about the prince of Jaypur who struggles to recapture his lost kingdom as well as get back his lost love.

The prince of Jaypur goes for hunting in the woods. But the chief conspirator of the armed forces hits him in the head and he loses consciousness. The prince falls into a river and reaches the bank where the snake charmers reside. The daughter of the snake charmers leader, Ponchhi saves him. The prince comes round soon but cannot remember anything about himself. Meanwhile, the conspirator captures the power of the state. Again at the snake charmers locality, Ponchhi falls in love with the prince. But the other snake charmer boy who loves her cannot tolerate it. He hits the prince on the head which brings back the lost memory of the prince. The prince sets to take revenge on the conspirator and to take over power.

The Pala is written by Sekandar Ali and directed by Abdul Halim. With the traditional essence of Jatra, the actors Mahbubul Alam, Mojibor Rahman, Shahidur Rahman, Lakshmi Begum performed well. The audience was extremely enthusiastic about the Pala and people from all walks of life flocked there.

Earlier the State Minister for the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Begum Selima Rahman inaugurated the festival. In her speech she said, 'In such a position when we are moving away from our roots and forgetting our original culture as an adverse effect of globalisation, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy did something appreciable by arranging this folk drama festival. Shafi A Chowdhury MP, Modabbir Hossain Chowdhury, Cultural Secratary, Ahmed Nazir and S M Mohsin of Shilpakal Academy also spoke at the occasion.

Shilpakala Academy plays an active role in reviving Jatra in the country