Celebrating The Land Of Bengal

Poorna Kulkarni
Friday, 8 November 2019

The Sanskritam One Act Bangla (SOAB) Theatre Festival starting today, brings Bengali theatre productions from across the country to the city

Pune has been a thriving ground for many amateur and professional drama groups. One such group is Sanskritam, which has invited Bengali theatre groups active in different parts of the country, to perform in Sanskritam One Act Bangla (SOAB) Theatre Festival. The two day festival that starts from today, features Shudrka from Hyderabad, Disharee Foundation from Mumbai, Ekti Natoker Dol and Ekalavya Performing Arts from Bengaluru and Sanskritam from Pune.
Ashok Mukherjee, founder of Sanskritam, says that the group was formed in 1993 with an aim to propagate the rich Indian cultural heritage through art form. Over the years they have been organising various national theatre festivals along with Marathi-Bengali theatre interaction programmes. “The reason we came up with a festival dedicated to Bengali One Act plays is because for nearly two decades, there weren’t many activities exclusively for Bengali theatre. Also, many groups in Kolkata believe that there are no better Bengali theatre groups and activities happening outside of Kolkata. So we wanted to bring together the Bengali theatre groups from other parts of the country who are doing good work,” says Mukherjee. 

Other Performances
Ekti Natoker Dal’s Streer Potro (The letter from the wife) by Rabindranath Tagore; directed by Amitava Bakshy 
Disharee Foundation’s Gopon Sotyo (The Secret Truth); directed by Dipayan Goswami.

The plays 
Sanskritam is bringing its two plays — Rong (The Colour) and Laden Bari Aachho (Are you at home, Laden?) which will be staged on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Both the plays have been directed by Mukherjee. “Rong has been scripted by Nataraj Das and it is based on Sorir, a story by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay. It is a story of a boy and the problems he faces because of his dark complexion. The bottom line of the play is that it’s not the complexion that matters, but the character of the person.” They have been rehearsing and improvising this play for four months. 

Laden Bari Aachho is an adapted version of Lyadh which means a lethargic person. The story has been penned by Salil Sarkar. In this play Mukherjee plays the central character and the play depicts the journey of a man, who dabbled in politics in his youth and is now aged and disconnected from the people around him. He is disinterested in life and is lonely. 

Beyond customs and rituals
A play titled Bhasan, which means Immersion, has been directed by Bodhisatta Sarkar and  Biplab Kundu. It will be presented by Ekalavya Performing Arts. Says Kundu, “Immersion is a very important aspect of Durga Puja. It’s also a time for reunion of families and friends. Bhasan is the story of Ashish and Varsha, who are shown to be celebrating Durga Puja, forgetting all their sorrows. But this Vijayadashami is different because of Aisha, another character.”

The story, which has been written by Sarkar, urges the lead characters to think beyond the boundaries of culture, rituals and customs. The play is all about human values and interpersonal relationships. The story was conceptualised around two years back, he informs. 

Sarkar and Kundu are the founder members of Ekalavya Performing Arts. They started it along with Subarna Kundu and Swati Sarkar. 

ST Reader Service 
The Sanskritam One Act Bangla (SOAB) Theatre Festival will take place on November 9 at Bhimsen Joshi Auditorium, Aundh and on November 10 at Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe Auditorium, Yerwada from 5.45 pm onwards. The event is ticketed

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