The Ganga Jamuna Theatre Festival has been held over the years to facilitate cultural exchange between India and Bangladesh, and to strengthen the bonds between the two countries. The eight-day festival opened on a exciting note yesterday at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), featuring 14 theatre troupes including three from India, a Jatra troupe, a dance troupe and a number of cultural organisations.
The festival was inaugurated at the National Theatre Hall, with Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzaman Noor MP as chief guest. Noted theatre personalities Ramendu Majumdar, Mamunur Rashid, Nasiruddin Yousuff, Liaquat Ali Lucky and Dolly Basu (Kolkata, India) were also present. Member secretary of the festival Akhtaruzzaman delivered the welcome address, while the session was chaired by convener of the event, Golam Kuddus.
Fittingly, a Bangladeshi production, directed by an Indian director raised the curtains of the festival. Nagorik Natya Sampraday staged “Naamgotrohin – Manto'r Meyera” following the ceremony, scripted and directed by noted Indian theatre activist Usha Ganguly based on Urdu writer Sadat Hasan Manto's short stories. The play, segmented into three parts, delves into the lives of three marginalised women --Sultana, Neeti and Sugondhi -- who are are victimised by a patriarchal society. The theatrical work features a strong cast including Sara Zaker, Aupee Karim and Pantho Shahriar. Meanwhile, at the Experimental Theatre Hall, Theatre and Performance Studies department of Dhaka University staged their production of Shakespeare's “Hamlet”.
Today's plays at the festival are “Attiyo Swajan” by Kolkata-based troupe Chupkotha at the National Theatre Hall, and “Tipu Sultan” by Joyjatra at the Experimental Theatre Hall. Apart from that, every day the festival will feature street plays, recitation and songs at the open premises of BSA from 5pm.
Other troupes and cultural groups participating in the festival include Nrityanchal, Agontuk, Aranyak Natya Dal, Theatre (Baily Road), Lokko Natyadal (Banani), Jugagni (from India), Prachyanat, Theatre Art Unit, Dhaka Theatre, Arindam Natya Sampraday (Chittagong), Mohakal Natya Sampraday, Anik (Kolkata, India), Nat Nandan, Wrishij Shilpi Goshthi, Universal Theatre, Konthoshilon, Nandan, Kotha Abritti Charcha Kendra, Bohnishikha, Natyadhara, Muktadhara, Kranti Shilpi Goshthi, Natyajoddha, Satyen Sen Shilpi Goshthi, Chandrakala Theatre, Srot Abritti Sangsad, Swa-Bhumi Lekhok Shilpi Kendra,
Oboyob Natya Dal, Swarsruti and Udichi.
The festival ends on September 8.