'Basanta Raasleela' in the monsoon
A special performance of traditional Manipuri art form Raasleela took place in the Ghoramara Dakshin Mandap, Kamalganj, Sylhet on July 28. Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy took the initiative to document traditional art from all over Bangladesh. In line with the initiative, Zilla Shilpakala Academy Moulvibazar organised the programme in support with Manipuri Theatre and DC office, Moulvibazar.
An outstanding ambience was created by the full moon and the monsoon rain. Devotees and curious audience of all ages gathered around a gorgeous Mondoli (stage) to enjoy the special performance. The special two-hour long rendering of the original Raasleela was a well compiled representation of unification and separating episodes of Lord Krishna and Radha.
The Raasdhari (director) of the performance Krishma Kumari Sinha said, “There are five different types of Raas Leela, the Maha Raas, Kunja Raas, Basanta Raas, Nitya Raas and Diba Raas. Another form of Raas called the Rakhal Raas is performed only by men. Here we have performed the Basanta Raas.” She also spoke about how it takes around 10-12 days to choreograph a performance.
The performance began with the beats of Mridanga and the Raga. The Ragaalaap depicts Brindavan varnan, Krishna abhisar, Radha abhisar, one after another. A character called Brindas Devi played by Jyoti Sinha initiated the dance performance. Krishna and Radha were played by child artistes Dwaipayan Sinha and Binita Sinha. The Gopies — Swarnali Sinha, Aruna Sinha, Anamika Chatterjee, Priyanka Sinha, Sujola Sinha, Moumita Sinha and Orthi Sinha, mesmerised the audience with their graceful performance. The beautiful stage was designed by Nikhil Singha and Joy Singha.
The use of special instruments and vocal representation give Manipuri Raasleela its character. Bidhan Chandra Singha was the assistant director and one of the Mridanga players. Rony Singha accompanied him in the Mridanga act. The Sutrodharis narrated the story through songs. The vocalists who performed were Krishna Kumari Sinha, Thoibi Devi, Usha Sinha and Sharmila Sinha.
Manipuri Theatre director and writer Shuvashis Sinha said, “Raas is not just a function, or a mere art. It is attached to the emotions of people, and we have represented that through this performance.” He also thanked Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy for taking the initiative to document art forms of various districts of the country.
Kamalganj UNO, Mohammad Mahmudul Haque was the chief guest at the programme. The GM of Moulvibazar Palli Bidyut Samity, Shibulal Bose and senior journalist of the Daily Prothom Alo, Akmol Hussain Nipu were also present at the programme.