“Modhu Shikari” brought to life
On Saturday, Alliance Française de Dhaka and The University Press Limited launched "Modhu SHikari" t its La Galerie. The book is a Bangla translation of "Honey Hunter", an illustrated book for children written by Frenchpoet Khartika Nair and illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet. After the book launch, theatre troupe BotTala brought the book to life, through a stage production of it.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor; Sophie Aubert, Ambassador of France to Bangladesh and Professor Dr. Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah, Vice President, Alliance Française de Dhaka were among the distinguished guests present at the event.
The story of the honey hunter begins in the Sundarbans where three rivers meet in a huge mangrove forest. Everyone who lives in the Sundarbans loves honey, but one most of all: a small, black-haired boy named Shonu. One year, due to climate change, the seasons in the Sundarban get mixed up and the region is plagued by powerful cyclones followed by drought and hunger. Shonu becomes so hungry that he sneaks into the mangrove forest and breaks the golden rule: he takes honey from the hives even though it is not yet the harvest time. Shonu doesn't quite realise that what he has done could get him into deep trouble with the almighty demon tiger Dakkhin Rai and the goddess Bonbibi, the Guardian Deity of the Sundarbans .
This modern-day fairytale reveals what can happen when someone interferes with nature's rhythm. It teaches children to respect and appreciate the environment. Inspired by Muslim and Hindu myths, author Karthika Naïr and illustrator Joëlle Jolivet have created a compelling narrative style and visual language to tell their tale. The University Press Limited (UPL) took the initiative to publish the Bangla translation, by Shamim Azad.
The actors used pictures drawn on fabric for the performance. They leapt, sang and talked like people of medieval times. The photograph of Shonu, his mother and the village along with the birds and bees and the animals of Sundarbans flashed on the wall to add depth to the storytelling.
The play was dedicated to the chief guest Asaduzzaman Noor, who was garlanded because it was his birthday. The Director of Alliance Française was also there with the chief guest.