Looking back at Aranyak Natyadal’s glorious journey | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 27, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 27, 2020

Looking back at Aranyak Natyadal’s glorious journey

Theatre was one of the most powerful forms of expression in post-liberation Bangladesh. Popular theatre group Aranyak Natyadal has been actively staging plays for 48 years. Right after Bangladesh's liberation, Ekushey Padak-winning thespian Mamunur Rashid, along with noted theatre artistes Aly Zaker, Shubhash Dutta, Dr Enamul Haque and Nazmul Hossain, started the group on February 1, 1972. Mamunur Rashid spearheads the troupe.

Besides staging shows in the country, Aranyak Natyadal has staged many plays overseas as well. Their first show, Kobor, written by martyr Munir Chowdhury, was featured on February 20 in the year of their establishment. It was directed by Manunur Rashid. Aly Zaker, Dr Enamul Haque, Nazmul Hossain, Babul Chowdhury, Mujib Haque and others acted in this play. Later, they brought Poshchimer Shiriti to the stage, under the direction of Mamunur Rashid, who wrote the play during the Liberation War. It was supposed to be staged in Kolkata, under Mustafa Monwar's direction. However, that did not happen.

Aranyak Natyadal presented some of their finest plays on the stage of Mahila Samity. During the late 1970s, the group staged Gondhorbonogori. In the 1980s, their play, Kodom Ali, based on May Day, received a splendid response. It was first staged in the premises of Bangla Academy on May 1, 1981. Later, the play was translated into German. Another play, Iblish, also garnered immense popularity. Aranyak Natyadal carries the mission that plays are not only meant for entertainment; they are a tool for people to raise their voices.  Some other remarkable plays produced by the group include Rarang,Khudiramer Deshe, Shinghashon Dukkho, Shekol, Joyjoyonti, Mayur Singhasan, Shongkranti, Kodom Ali, Bhongobongo and Kohe Facebook, among others. They have done both stage and street plays.

Azizul Hakim, Salahuddin Lavlu, Brindaban Das, Azad Abul Kalam, Tamalika Karmakar, alongside many other noted actors, have performed with the troupe for a long time. Aranyak Natyadal will celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2022.  

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