Pritha Khondita: Tracing the extraordinary saga of queen Kunti

Pritha Khondita: Tracing the extraordinary saga of queen Kunti

On September 11, ‘Alor Pakhi’ showcased their new production ‘Pritha Khondita’ at Madhusudan Mancha, Dhakuria, Kolkata, which is based on the story of Kunti. The directors of ‘Alor Pakhi’, Rudra Mishra and Swarnava Mishra, wanted to narrate the story of a girl who was betrayed by her own father. It’s a story of love, power and betrayal.

‘Pritha Khondita’ traces the extraordinary saga of the life of Queen Kunti. People know her from the ‘Mahabharata’, as the wife of King Pandu and the mother of the Pandavas, but there is a lot more to her story before her life as the Queen of Hastinapur. Queen Kunti, as people know her, was born as Pritha to Surasena, who belonged to a lower ring of society. Her father gave her up for adoption to King Kuntibhoj, who raised Pritha, hence her name. Unbeknownst to her, this was the first of the many sacrifices she had to make in her lifetime.

As a young maiden, Pritha fell in love with Kalahan, who belonged to a lower caste, making her love for him worrisome for Kuntibhoj. Wary of his family’s prestige, the king was against this union. After seeking help from Sage Durvasa, Kuntibhoj ended up offering his adoptive daughter to the sage. Pritha was left with no other option but to spend the night with the sage, who impregnated and abandoned her. It would be a heinous scandal for a young, unmarried girl to bear a child. She was advised by all to abort or give the child up.

However, she was firm in her decision to have the baby. She fought against all the naysayers and gave birth to her first child, who’d later be known as Karna. Out of fear of the world, Kunti put the child in a basket and set him afloat on the Ganga river. Lord Surya accepted the child as his own.

Pritha sacrifices her love for the sake of her father and exercises whatever power she has to protect her integrity, yet somehow her sacrifices don’t seem to be enough. The gripping tale raises a poignant question: how far is a girl willing to go to preserve the sanctity of her family, to protect the honour of her father and to preserve her own dignity?

‘Alor Pakhi’ invited Susmita Nandi’s group ‘Kalapi’, a renowned group from Kolkata, two renowned dancers, Poly Guha and Pradipta Niyogy and none other than Kohinoor Sen Barat, as guest performers. The programme started with the offering to Lord Nataraja, followed by the felicitation of the gurus: Thankumani Kutty, Chandrodoy Ghosh, Alakananda Roy, Sujatha Ramalingam, Kohinoor Sen Barat, Sujay Thakur, Debashis Chatterjee, Sikha Roy and Swarnali Mishra. It ended with happy notes from the gurus of Kolkata and wholehearted applause and a standing ovation from the last three rows of the audience.

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