For a Just Society
We live in a chaotic age, where the idea of right and wrong has become ambiguous and the defenceless 'have-nots' of the society suffer for the crimes conducted by the all powerful bourgeoisies. As theatre has always been a powerful tool to point out the social dilemmas, North South Cine and Drama Club (NSUCDC) has brought up one of the social awakening dramas by celebrated actor, director and playwright Manoj Mitra entitled 'Kenu Kahrarer Theatre' on stage.
Theatre has always been a powerful tool to point out the social dilemmas.
Though the drama was written decades ago against the backdrop of the misrule by the colonial British rule, it is still very relevant to the contemporary society as social crimes run deep even in independent Bangladesh. The storyline of the drama revolves around a group of theatre activists who are actually all dead but they somehow have managed to return from the afterlife to perform in their last play 'Ghantakarna'. The storyline is amusing and confusing at the same time, as a play within a play is performed in the drama and the performers make hasty transitions between their play (Ghantakarna) and real life. Just like the real world, in this unusual drama it becomes hard to determine whether a person is being genuine or disguising for the sake of deception. The protagonist of the drama is Kinu, who also plays the leading role. Apparently, Ghantakarna is the village-fool who takes up a strange job of admitting sins conducted by other people in exchange of money. The play is set up in a kingdom named Putna, which is ruled by an incompetent King and his evil courtiers. A deceptive foreign delegate from British East India Company also regularly tries to influence the king's policy. In this illusory kingdom, lust reigns supreme and it is innocent Ghantakarna who gets duped by a conspiracy of some of the corrupt aristocrats of the state. The real irony takes place when Kinu, just like Ghantakarna, becomes a victim of a similar conspiracy in real life as he has to bear the false allegation of molesting his sister-in-law though the crime was done by a powerful member of the society.
Apart from the costumes and superb performances by the actors, one thing
that stood out in the drama was its humorous dialogues.
Apart from the costumes and superb performances by the actors, one thing that stood out in the drama was its humorous dialogues. To relate the drama more to the present political mayhem in Bangladesh, the dialogues of the original script were set in the contemporary lingo to portray how our politicians are misusing political jargons like democracy, rule of law and human rights only to serve their narrow interests. The audience could not help but to clap to the satirical delivery of the dialogues by the performers from time to time as they completely related to some of the recent political scandals in Bangladesh. Staged in the Natmondol of University of Dhaka, 'Kenu Kaharer Theatre' saw a full house in terms of the number of members in the audience. The whole drama was performed in a folk format with traditional Jatra like music and dancing, which added a completely different taste to the drama.