TASHER DESH A vivid retelling of a Tagore classic | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 03, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:54 PM, November 04, 2017

TASHER DESH A vivid retelling of a Tagore classic

Srishti's dance-drama festival opens at BSA

Srishti-Meena Bazar Dance Drama festival opened at the National Theatre Hall of BSA on November 1. The dance drama festival is being organised by Srishti Cultural Center in association with Meena Bazar.

Before the performance began, opening remarks were given by founder of Srishti Cultural Center, Anisul Islam Hero, after which words of appreciation and support were extended by director of Gemcon Group Juditha Ohlmacher, eminent dancer Shamim Ara Nipa, and BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky.

The festival opened with one of Shadhona's more popular productions- “Tasher Desh”, jointly choreographed by Manipuri dancer Warda Rihab and Contemporary dancer Rachel Krische, from the UK. The dance-drama consisted of movements and mudras from mainly three separate dance forms - Manipuri, Western Contemporary and Purulia Chhau.

Photo: Sheikh Mehedi Morshed

The story of “Tasher Desh”, inspired by “Alice in Wonderland”, is a satirical take on the severity of class systems, shown in a land where rules and regulations trump the importance of human emotions. The plot revolves around a prince who is tired of a mundane life in the palace and wants to set out on an adventure with his merchant friend. After encountering a storm, they land in a place that seems ridiculous to them from the get-go. They come across the inhabitants of the land, who seem to lack basic human qualities or emotions. Everything about this country, the rigidity, the lack of human emotions and desires, feels like a game of cards, everything governed by rules. When the prince and his assistant come to the country and speak for the importance of humanness, free-will and sentiment, the inhabitants face turmoil and begin searching for their souls. Ultimately, they discover their human selves, and discard their lifeless ways.

While the performance mostly circled around the prince, played by Sabbir Ahmed Khan Biju and his merchant friend, played by Amit Chowdhury, the play comes to life at the entrance of the 'card' inhabitants. The blend of Manipuri and Western contemporary forms are done to near perfection, so much so that differentiating between the two forms becomes almost impossible. The inhabitants of the fabled 'tasher desh', meanwhile, mostly perform Purulia Chhau dance.

The performers consisted of veteran dancers Laila Hasan (who plays the Queen Mother), Lubna Marium (the Card Queen), Warda Rihab (Horotoni), MR Wasiq (as the Card King) and Lamia Saiyara Mela, playing Potrolekha. The rest of the cast includes Tahnun Ahmedy, Abu Nayeem, Cynthia Yasmin, Shammy Akhter, and many others playing various characters.

Photo: Sheikh Mehedi Morshed

The music was done under the direction of renowned percussionist Tanmoy Bose, and the vocals were given by seasoned Rabindra Sangeet singers Nandita Yasmin, Lopamudra Mitra, as well as Shayan Chowdhury Arnob, Anusheh Anadil and Rupankar Bagchi.

On the second day of the festival, Nrityanchal presented their dance-drama “Rai Krishna Padabali” at the same venue.

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