Millennium Post

Jatra artistes in Bengal feel demonetisation pinch

Jatra, a popular folk theatre of Bengal has suffered a direct blow from the ban of currency notes in the districts where there is no facility of card payments.

Jatra is a popular medium of entertainment for the people especially in the villages where large number people come to see various Jatra palas.

The artists working under various groups get their remuneration out of the amount that is being collected by selling tickets of a particular show.

However, since the demonetisation of currency notes have been announced many of the opera 
houses that organise the programme are reluctant to stage their shows apprehending that there 
could a huge loss if the shows are conducted in the time of crisis.

In many cases, various clubs or organisations in the rural areas organise opera shows by collecting subscriptions from the people.

Since the announcement of demonetisation, there has been a dip in the collection money as the people are suffering from cash crunch.

Despite it being one of the main attractions for the rural masses, people are not interested in providing subscriptions or buying tickets.

The districts where the operas are still very famous are East and West Midnapore, Bankura, South 24-Parganas and some parts of North Bengal.

As a result, various opera houses are facing challenges during this season which happens to be the peak time for  festivals.

Generally, the season starts in November and ends in April.Even the members of various opera houses who had gone to far-off districts before the announcement of ban of high value currency notes are in trouble as many of the artists do not have a bank account and have exhausted cash in hand.

Priyonath Mukherjee, more familiar with his theatrical name Raj, a member of ‘Kolkata Opera’ based on Nandakumar in East Midnapore had been touring in North Bengal from November performing various folk theatres have been facing problems.

He told Millennium Post over telephone that many of his colleagues who do not have a bank account are facing problems.

“Operas are fully dependant on cash transactions. People buy tickets of various amounts like Rs 30, Rs 50 and Rs 60. But in most of the places, the opera houses are facing difficulties due to the cash crunch. Those who had old Rs 500 currency notes were forced to exchange them against the value of Rs 450. Many of our colleagues do not have a bank account, while some others have ATM cards but they do not use them. They earn money by performing their arts and take their income back home. But due to the sudden announcement, the problem has multiplied,” Mukherjee said.
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