Ek Shaam Tagore Ke Naam
It’s the season of Rabindranath Tagore on his 150th birth anniversary that fell on May 7. Many programmes are being organised in the nook and corners of the Islands particularly in Bengali dominated areas.
Andaman People Theatre Association, dedicated to promotion of theatre in the Islands put its best foot forward through a one-hour capsule encompassing all the creative genre of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. It had poems, short stories, songs, dance, play and also a touch of painting. The performers belonged to all the generations; the youngest being just 12 years old.
Dwipen Saha and Mallika Sadhukhan, great local exponents of Rabindra Sangeet, presented a couple of songs each, Dwipen Saha in Hindi and Mallika Sadhukhan in Bengali.
The lone dance programme was presented by the 12-year whiz kid Srinjoyee Chettri who had the good fortune of learning Odissi from the son of great exponent of the form; Kelu Charan Mahapatra. It was a captivating performance that the audience enjoyed thoroughly.
Two short stories; Postmaster and Tota were presented in a very contemporary flavour by Asha Gupta and Aniruddh Pandey. They carried the stories credibly well but could not maintain the tempo till the last. The end, in both cases proved a damp squib that left the audience a little let down.
Geetanjali Acharya, the veteran theatre artist presented a stanza from Rabindranath’s immortal dance-drama ‘Chitrangada’ in Bengali and then in Hindi. An artist par excellence, she was perfect as expected. However, it appeared that the Bengali rendition was more soulful and touching than the Hindi version.
A scene from Tagore’s play ‘Rakta Karabi’ was enacted by Sudhakar and Asha Gupta in Hindi. Spontaneity, perfect timing and ease of performance left the audience spellbound.
D Amli Kumar rendered a poem in Hindi. She looked visibly uncomfortable and stage conscious. It took the toll of her performance.
SN Sri Prakash, the untrained painter talked about his brush with Rabindranath and through that he threw light on the paintings of the great poet. His painting on Rabindranath too was on display.
The programme was held at Amphitheatre at Haddo. It provided an apt ambience for the recreation of Gurudev’s works under the open sky, trees around and bits and pieces on the theatre. The lighting was not perfect but not too bad either.
The script highlighting the important events of Rabindranath’s life and work was a masterstroke in itself. The narration by Naresh Chander Lal himself was ably supported by Shanti, a theatre and TV artist.
Anadiranjan Biswas, poet, author and Editor Bakprotima, a Bengali Little Magazine generally appreciated the efforts of Naresh Chander Lal and highlighted a few important turning points in Gurudev’s life.
Raz Andamani who had presided over the programme lamented that though Rabindranath Tagore was the crown & glory of Indian literary heritage, he was confined within the borders of West Bengal. Even his 150th birth anniversary was celebrated by Bengalis be it in Delhi, Mumbai or Lucknow.
Speaking about the programme he said that Naresh Chander Lal had raised the bar for all the programmes to follow in Rabindranath’s 150th Birth Anniversary year by different organizations. He congratulated Naresh Ch Lal and his team of artists for putting up such a grand show.
Krishn Kumar Yadav, an eminent author and Director of Postal Services, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion, talked about the stupendous body of work that a single man had created in his life time and that too in many and varied genres. He too lamented the lack of knowledge and awareness about his work, particularly among the younger generation.
Realizing it, he said, the Government of India had added Tagore to the study of Gandhi & Nehru. He admitted that before his preparation for the civil services he knew very little about Tagore. It was the civil services examination that had thrown open the doors on Tagore.
He underlined the need for paying greater attention to the works of Tagore and propagating it among the youth.
He congratulated Naresh Chander Lal and his team for the excellent work.