Indrarang Mahotsav gaining popularity with time
The second year of Indrarang Mahotsav extrapolated the zest of iconic Bengali Puja festival in the northern fringes of Kolkata. The inaugural ceremony on November 11 at Academy of Fine Arts saw a conglomeration of prominent public leaders of West Bengal namely Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, Saugata Roy, Sadhan Pandey along with Bratya Basu. The eight day long extravaganza symbolised the relevance and significance of theatre in Kolkata when the city simultaneously geared up for another gala show, KIFF 2018.
National award winning actor Saurabh Shukla visited Kolkata for the second consecutive year with his scintillating play, 'Barff' and another midlife crisis comedy, 'Two to tango, three to jive'. Barff, set in the backdrop of a troubled Kashmir hamlet, questions the construction of conceptual belief and truth of two different persons from different sociopolitical backgrounds. An accomplished oncologist on his way to attend a medical seminar meets a taxi driver who guides him to his village to get his child, Jigara, treated. The sophisticated Dr Siddhant Kaul played by Saurabh Shukla reaches the house of the lone survivor of the village Ghulam Rasool (played by Sunil K Palwal) to discover his psychotic wife Nafisa (Sadiya Siddiqui) living in a fantasy world. The play nicely portrays a psychological rage and misdemeanor of the wife and her doting husband's reactions and responsibilities towards the guest doctor. It ends with introspection into existentialism and search of truth in life which leaves the audience numb in the icy chill of 'Barff'.
Makarand Deshpande, another famous theatre personality, presented a heartwarming play, 'Sir Sir Sarla' where the narrative focuses on a poetry teacher, Professor Palekar (played by Deshpande) and his students Sarla (Played by Ahana Kumra) and Phanidhar (played by Sanjay Dadhich). It is a triangular love story between Sarla, smitten by love for her teacher, and Phanidhar who is unable to profess his weakness towards Sarla. Phanidhar blames his philosopher and guide for coming in between him and Sarla. Sarla finally gets married on her teacher's advice but is unhappy and comes back to her teacher again and admits her feelings towards him. The play is rich in terms of its focus on philosophy of life through Palekar's verses and poetries. Makarand Deshpande deserves a salute for keeping the play relevant in its seventeen year long journey.
The festival presented other important plays namely, 'Mir Jafar' by Kalindi Bratyajon, 'Awdya Sesh Rajani' and 'Akdin Aladin' by Paikpara Indraranga, 'Don Take Bhalo Lage' by Chetana, among others.w Indrarang Mahotsav began this theatre soiree with a children's workshop based production, Bhombol Sardar, produced by Kalindi Bratyajon, directed by Sumanta Roy. Festival Convener Indrajit Chakraborty expressed his gratitude to Bratya Basu, the Festival President, for being the driving force behind this colossal initiative.
Indrajit's principle and continual responsibilities towards the theatre loving cultures of Bengal is laudable amidst the growing constraints of this
marginalised art form.