Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 4 Issue 31 | January 28, 2005 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   A Roman Column
   Time Out
   Straight Talk
   Slice of Life
   Food for Thought
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
   New Flicks
   Write to Mita

   SWM Home



CAT Receives Plaudits at Bharat Rang Maha Utsav

Ershad Kamol

The seventh Bharat Rang Maha Utsav organised by India's premier National School of Drama (NSD) that ran from January 5-20, was indeed a treat for theatregoers. The festival was being held in four venues-- Sriram Centre, Kamani Auditorium, Abhimanch and Sanmukh and Bahumukh Auditoriums.

This year, however, the festival is a scaled down affair. As compared to the earlier years, when the productions used to hover between 100-125, this year has only half that number at 57, including some international productions from Bangladesh, Russia, Pakistan, Nepal and a collaborative five-director led Japan Foundation Asia Centre production. A few groups have withdrawn from the festival in the wake of the Tsunami disaster in the region.

The focus of the festival is on Hindi plays from Northern India. However, there are, in addition, other language productions. Take, for example, "Baburnama," which is a multilingual production. Moreover, four Bangla plays have been included in the festival of which three are from Kolkata and the other one by Centre for Asian Theatre (CAT) which represents Bangladesh in the festival.

The festival kicked off with the staging of "Baburnama" (Memories of a Legend) on January 5 at Abhimanch Auditorium. The audience, which had pinned high hopes on the play--an autobiography of Mughal emperor Babur--came away, disappointed. The following day, at the "Meet the Directors" session, the five directors-Abilash, Anup, Azad, Ibrahim and Ruwanthihad to bear criticism from the theatre experts. Azad Abul Kalam from Bangladesh was one of the five directors. Moreover, Emon, Jahangir and Sumi performed in three major characters in the play.

Those who watched Centre for Asian Theatre's (CAT's) production "The Lesson," written by Eugene Ionesco and directed by Mejrema Reuter, at Kamani auditorium on January 7 last, highly praised the production.

Tobias Biacone, a Swiss playwright as well as an International Theatre Institute (ITI) member, said, that while he visited Dhaka in December 2003, to take part in the drama festival arranged by ITI of Bangladesh he saw a few quality plays. "In fact, quality acting is a prerequisite for the Theatre of Absurd. And the theatre troupe has got the potential. I think they can take this production to an international level drama festival," said Tobias.

Professor Ram Gopal Bajaj, a theatre director and ex-director of NSD, also spoke highly of Bangladeshi theatre. To quote Bajaj, "I have not watched Bangladeshi theatre much. Earlier, I saw Bhelua Shundori at the NSD festival. The indigenous art form based play by CAT lingers in my memory. This year, The Lesson by the same troupe impressed me as much. Each of the performers expressed the complex psyche of the individual character with verve."

Madeeha Gouhar, the art director of Ajoka Theatre, Pakistan, was also full of praise. She said, "I saw The Lesson and thought it was a good production, especially the acting of Kamaluddin Nilu. However, I would be more interested in seeing original theatre work from Bangladesh."

There's more good news for CAT. It has been invited to perform "The Lesson" in Taipei.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2004