Fable of a pomegranate
Theatre troupe Natya Kendra celebrates its 19th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, the troupe has arranged a three-day theatre festival at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), which began on October 9. Three plays, including a new one, are being staged at the festival.
Seasoned actor and chief of Natya Kendra, Tariq Anam Khan, spoke prior to the staging of the play on the opening day. Assessing his group's profile, Khan said, "Nineteen years is not a long period for a theatre troupe. We want to progress with quality productions."
On the first day, the troupe's latest production "Dalimkumar" was premiered at the National Theatre Hall, BSA. Written by young playwright Shubhashish Sinha, the play has been directed by Yusuf Hassan Arko.
Set against a contemporary backdrop, "Dalimkumar" zooms in on the life of a farmer's offspring, who is trying to discover his identity. Hot present issues like globalisation and urbanisation have been highlighted in some sequences. Sinha also introduces the familiar fable character, Dalimkumar, to narrate the story.
A childless couple receives a pomegranate blessed by a holy man; the wondrous fruit will supposedly perform a miracle and a baby will be born. When bestowing the pomegranate to the couple, the holy man cautions that their offspring must never find out the miracle that caused his birth.
A beautiful boy is born and is named 'Dalimkumar' -- a reference to the miraculous pomegranate. Dalim grows up to be the strongest man of the village. The young man is infuriated by the villagers' gossip regarding his birth. Eventually he discovers the secret. This compels Dalim to undertake a journey, searching for the holy man.
During his journey, he reaches an imaginary place, which resembles the contemporary world. Here Dalim comes across Konkaboti, another fable character. As the familiar fairy tale suggests, Konkaboti would only wake up if someone touches her with the golden and silver sticks on her bed.
Dalim is able to awake Konka and through a conversation between the two it's revealed that Konka is the wife of an overly ambitious person. Her husband is so obsessed with his success that he has no time for her. A lonely Konkaboti wants to escape her miseries.
Eventually, Dalimkumar understands the puzzle regarding his birth and Konkaboti plays a significant role in uncovering the truth.
Performances of young actors in the lead roles were seemingly unsatisfactory; certain scenes were marred with overacting. The cast included Jhuna Chowdhury, Iqbal Babu, Yusuf Hasan Arko, Niaz Mohammad Tariq, Sangeeta Chowdhury, Habib Masud, Obid Rehan, Ram Krishna Mitra, Lusi Tripti Gomez and Sraboni Ferdous. Pintu Dev was the set designer. Tariq Anam Khan did the lighting design. Yusuf Hasan Arko, director of the play, also did the music direction.
Yesterday, "Pratisharan" was staged at the Experimental Theatre Hall. Popular actor Tauquir Ahmed is the writer and director of the play. Today, the troupe's much-acclaimed production, "Aroj Charitamrita," will be staged at the Experimental Theatre Hall. The play narrates the life and works of self-educated philosopher Aroj Ali Matubbar. The play is written by Masum Reza and has been directed by Tariq Anam Khan.