It is definitely a Tagore drama with a difference. Where else can you have classical music maestro Rashid Khan and singer Kaushiki Chakraborty give expression to the mood of the play: the turbulent and disturbed times that we live in? Actor director Goutam Halder’s play, Raktakarabi has mobile phones stomping on the stage and his heroine Nandini is today’s girl who could have been from Syria or any Indian University, mouthing protests against intolerance and injustice inherent in modern society.
The lead character of Nandini is played by veteran theatre actor Chaiti Ghosal, who has played the same role twice before in her career. “I played Nandini first when I was in Class VIII. Then I played Nandini in Goutam Halder’s Purba Paschim(Rakta Karabi) a few years ago. But unlike the iconic Sambhu Mitra’s Raktakarabi, there is no stylization of acting in Halder’s work. As in Tagore’s play, Nandini urges the King---symbolising absolute power--- to step out in the real world. Nandini stands for purity, love, protest and Nature as in Tagore’s play but the tension is apparent even in the way Halder creates the stage”, Ghosal told Millennium Post. The next performance is scheduled for February 12.
Ghosal says that the cast is by and large new and uninitiated. Bishu Pagol---is played by a young student with a mellifluous voice.
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the city-based poetry school, Kabyayan, another rendition of Raktakarabi was performed at Rabindra Sadan on Friday evening. The brainchild of noted elocutionist Bratati Bandopadhyay, the audio play featured singer Srikanta Acharya(he plays Bishu Pagol), actor Debesh Roy Chowdhury as well as Bandopadhyay, performing in leading roles. Bandopadhyay, who started the poetry school 25 years ago with a handful of students 24 years back, was thrilled about playing the lead role of Nandini---one of Tagore’s boldest heroines.
“Like Bimala from Ghare Baire and Labanya from Shesher Kobita, the heroine of Raktakarabi, Nandini, is a not scared of loving and living on her own terms.
“She is a rebel and represents the free human spirit. It is a challenging role but then Rakta Karabi is one of those Tagore plays one grew up reading and admiring”, Bandopadhyay told Millennium Post. Set to music and dance, the audio play is being performed a few days ahead of March 8, International Women’s Day.
Bandopadhyay’s poetry school is now being included as part of several other cultural, educational and social activities under an umbrella institution, Bratati Parampara.