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     Volume 1 Issue 17 | December 3, 2006 |


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The Ten Commandments for Bengali girls: Brace yourselves

By Shayera Moula

That's right ladies, it's here and it's in written form for the first time; so you better frame it up because following these commandments will make everyone proud of you. I mean EVERYONE, well except perhaps you yourself. But who cares about that right? I mean from physical appearance to the role of a perfect mother and wife, from educational background to a dynamic career woman and from a 'good' young girl to an even better woman, all of it has to be there. The color of the skin, the way you behave with others…the list never really ends! So here you go. You know all this so you also know that no one is protesting.
  • Thou shall neither look right nor left, not up nor below while strolling in the city. (They would have cut out “below” if not for those surprising manholes here and there)
  • Thou shall not smile, nor cough/sneeze out loud, let alone burp in public places (only men have the right to do that)
  • Thou shall not walk aimlessly and with balance-free hip in a public area. It will be your fault and your fault only if they can't keep their eyes to themselves and decide to physically harass thee.
  • BUT (!!!) thou should wear heels and “gorgeous” outfits to look as feminine as possible. (Hence the main reason why girls turn to clumsy dolls!)
  • Thou shall not react to any comments; whistles or Bengali version of Bee Gee remixes sung to you by men double thy age, no matter how much thy foot twitter to kick his rear end. (Ouch!!)
  • (*New addition & familiar to few) Thou can choose a date partner if and only if he is Smart
    Good looking
    Has a separate car
    Preferably is the only son of the family and is likely to inherit all property or the Family Business.
    Doesn't smoke or drink
    Prays five times a day
    Now that's turning out to be the Ten Commandments for how to be an eligible Bengali husband!
  • Thou shall NEVER walk in remote places where mastaans and other MP related zombies would try to kidnap thee. (Considering the very little number of girls that actually walk around in the city, I honestly don't understand what all the fuss is about “walking” around?!)
  • Thou shall scrub scrub and scrub thyself until the “natural” white marble of thy skin starts to glow. If that doesn't work then apply 2 tubes of foundation.
  • (*Optional & can vary) Thou will study thy skin off in order to get an eligible husband, who may be ten years older than thyself but will keep thee joyous in all occasions and also thy name shall have a Mrs. Dr. _________, or a Mrs. Professor____________ attached to it!!! How wonderful is that honey?
  • Finally, thou shall never question the Ten Commandments and also never ever ask for independence because a good girl knows that she has to eventually be wholly dependant on her husband and her in laws.
And remember “Jay bhalo chul bade, shey bhalo rade” (women, who clip their hair well, cook well)
Up close and personal with the man behind the magic

Hammad Ali

Last Monday, the 27th of November, BRAC University Drama and Theatre Forum (BUDTF) staged the drama version of Satyajit Roy's epic “Hirok Rajar Deshey”. This was no mean feat, considering that BUDTF had not previously done anything of this magnitude. However, in the end BUDTF not only pulled it off, but did it in great style. In recognition of this great achievement by the forum, the Campus team got in touch with the director of the play, Mr. Obaidullah Al-Zakir, who is also the Public Relations Officer at BRAC University. In a conversation with Star Campus, he reveals the story behind the play as BUDTF performed it.

We first asked him how the plan to undertake this huge project came about. Mr. Zakir informed us that he basically made a decision to attempt “Hirok Rajar deshey” as soon as he took up the role of advisor to BUDTF last year. He himself had been a member of Dhaka Little Theatre, and had played the role of the King when they staged this same drama back in 1982. The production was a hit with the audience and went on for twenty-two shows. Mr. Satyajit Ray himself sent a letter to the group, congratulating them on their effort. Once the decision to stage this play was finalized by BUDTF, Mr. Zakir made sure that while the actors got their liberty, the main theme of the story was still preserved. The artists were encouraged to follow the original actors from the movie, since a great deal of the story is told through their body language. Further, at least in the role of king, the slightly schizophrenic attitude portrayed by the great Utpal Dutta is something that has become indispensable.

When asked about what difficulties he had to face during the rehearsal, Mr. Zakir first cited the difficulty of casting, especially for the major characters. This had to be done with great care, since an error in casting would affect everybody else's performance. The people who did act in the play were from diverse backgrounds some had been acting since childhood while for others this would be the first time on stage, in front of an audience. These issues had to be kept in mind during the casting and the rehearsals. Another big factor was that a large part of the story is told through songs. Towards the climax, the song sang by one of the protagonists carries more weight than if the movie had ended in gunfire and deaths. Through this one song, one can sense all the pain this dictator has brought upon this land, all the hatred that men harbour in their hearts towards this selfish man. As such, this song had to be done very carefully. Fortunately, the student cast in this role managed to do justice to the role and the song.

Aside from this, recovering the original script for the play was also difficult. In the end, however, this feat was managed by the help of Sahana Bajpaye, Lecturer in the English Department. She collected an old issue of Shandesh which contained the script, with help from Dr. Pradip Gupta and none other than Sandip Ray, the son of the great Satyajit Ray himself.

Mr. Zakir emphasized how proud he is in particular of the fact that everything regarding the play was done by BUDTF members, except the final set design which of course had to be done by professionals. Now that the play has been staged, and also warmly received, this is how the director expresses his feelings, “from the very beginning, I had a strong conviction that we would get this done. We wanted to bring in some real quality work to BUDTF, as well as introduce the students to the works of the multi-faceted talent that Satyajit Ray was. In the end, I would say that we all had to work hard but in the end it all paid off. We even received a letter from Sandeep Ray himself, wishing us all the best as we attempt to stage one of his father's greatest works. Back when I was with Little Theatre, we had received a similar letter from Satyajit Ray, and to me it has that element of nostalgia that makes it all that more dear.”

The director expressed his gratitude to the VC, Pro-VC and other officials for their co-operation, in issues ranging from finding a sponsor to allowing transportation for the students. He said he would also like to thank the parents and guardians for letting the students put in as much effort as they did. Lastly, he thanks all the performers and those who helped him with the direction, and goes on to say that any of them would be able to go a long way with a career in acting.

When asked what his future plans with BUDTF are, Mr. Zakir revealed his intentions of staging the play at TARC, the BRAC University Residential Campus in Savar. In addition, he added that they would also like to take the entire team on a trip to Rabindra Sadan and perform the play there. Well, let's hope all of that works out for BUDTF and they go a long way towards well-deserved glory!


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