Volume 2 Issue 31 | April 12 , 2008 |


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From Mymensingh

Sanchita Das Joyanti: Dance and Drama

Sanchita Das Joyanti is a woman successful in her career as a dance and drama artiste. Sanchita, who started her career as a dancer in her school days, later involved herself in drama and became a popular face in greater Mymensingh and to some extent in Dhaka for her performances. She was born in Mymensingh town in 1960. The only daughter of Nrittanandan Modak and the late Chapala Bala Modak, Sanchita took her first lesson in dance when she was a primary school student at the local Mahakali Girls' School. She emerged as a professional dancer in her high school life and got involved with different cultural groups in Mymenisngh.

She was married off with one Alok Baran Das, a highly educated man in Mymensingh town in 1982. Alok hailed from Chittagong and did his M. Com degree with honors from Chittagong University.

Sanchita revealed that eminent cultural personalities like Produt Sen Gupta, Binoy Sarker, Mehdi Khan, Yosuf Munshi and Bhobesh Roy inspired her to enter the world of drama. And after entering this new world Sanchita never looked back. Later she became a regular performer in the cultural arena of Mymensingh. She acted with then eminent drama artistes of Mymensingh. Some of them are Shanta Sarker, Tulu Moni, Chhaya Sarker, Josna, Sheuli, Monju Goshwami, Rita, Mitali Mukharjee, Ava Alam, Fazr Ali, Produt Sen Gupta, Bhobesh Roy, Motahar Hossain Bacchu, Nayeem, Salam, Tuta Miah, dance master Bablu, Javed and Suruj. She also remembered Magistrate Akram Ali as a man who greatly inspired her cultural pursuits. She worked under the direction of Obayedul Hoque Sarker, Amol Bose, Sadequr Rahman Bacchu and Narayan Chakrabarty.

So far she has acted in more than 145 dramas and some 40 different stages in Dhaka. Baizeer Meye, Nabab Siraj-ud-dowlah, Pathey Holo Deri, Goly Theke Rajpath, Anaar Koli, Moghal-e-Azam and so on.

She is associated with Alokdhara, the local unit of Druba Parishad and Mymensingh Sheba Niketan. She still keeps herself pretty busy. Whenever she is offered the chance to perform on stage, she is eager to please the audience. “Once we were in great demand as stage artistes. Throughout the year especially in the winter season the whole country burst into festivities like jatra, theatre and other stuff”, said Sanchita. She added that they even had to stay away from home for days. “I traveled all over the Mymensingh region that includes Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Sherpur, Netrokona, Kishoreganj and Tangail to perform as a dance and drama artiste. I loved performing in Dhaka too.”

In the 1980s and 1990s, she made some decent financial gains from her work. An artiste could easily support her family through these pursuits, but nowadays it's really hard to sustain a family this way.

The mother of four sons, Sanchita leads a happy life with her husband and father, who is now 95 years old. Her husband gave all his support to her career. Alok Baran Das said we must hold on to our own culture to save it from the heavy influence of satellite culture. If we don't, he says one day our culture will be grabbed by foreigners endangering our culture and heritage for good.

Sanchita's father Nrittanandan Modak also said he was very pleased at his daughter's career which had brought the family name and fame. Her two sons - Shrestha Kanti Das Aunto and Anjan Kanti Das Apu are both students and singers of Rabindra Sangeet. They are planning to release a CD of Rabindra Sangeet soon. Shrestha Kanti Das Aunto and Anjan Kanti Das Apu want to uphold the traditional Bengali culture. They said that they want to follow their parents' thinking about the revival of culture that is being threatened by satellite television.

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