“Cholo Lathi Kheli”: A move to save an indigenous performing art form | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 13, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 13, 2010

“Cholo Lathi Kheli”: A move to save an indigenous performing art form

Lathials from Manikganj perform at the programme.

"Cholo Lathi Kheli" is a yearlong project jointly organised by Bangladesh Shilpkala Academy (BSA) and Shadhona -- a centre for advancement of South Asian dance and music. The project aims at promoting and popularising "lathi khela", a traditional Bangladeshi martial art/perfor-ming art form, in a new way.
The project will begin with a five-day camp -- from May 1 -- at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), Dhaka and would be attended by dancers, martial art enthusiasts, researchers and 'lathial'. The announcement was made at a press conference on April 11 at the Coffee House premises, BSA.
Among others, Lubna Marium, general secretary, Shadhona; Sara Ara Mahmud, director, department of theatre and film, BSA and Bidyut Kumar Basu; chief marketing officer of Robi were present at the conference. The project is being sponsored by Robi.
"'Lathi khela' has a remarkable history. But at present the popularity of the art form is on the wane," said Lubna Marium, speaking at the conference.
"While working on indigenous performing art forms, I came to know of 'lathi khela' from Saymon Zakaria. It was he who actually motivated me to take interest in the art form.
"We hope that through this yearlong event we would be able to regenerate interest in this traditional art form.
"The participation of dancers, martial art trainers and 'lathial' from across the country will enrich the genre further. We hope that youngsters will take interest in this art form and learn 'lathi khela' which will ensure its continuity," Lubna Marium added.
Speaking on the occasion Bidyut Kumar Basu, CMO, Robi said, "We feel fortunate to be a part of this event which aims at saving a traditional art from."
Basu also thanked the 'lathial' present, for keeping 'lathi khela' alive.
The project will include 'lathial' from across the country and train them. For this purpose a camp for trainers will be held at BSA, Dhaka from August 1 to 10. Twenty 'lathial', ten dancers, martial artistes and researches will take part in the camp.
Countrywide training of 'lathi khela' will start from Khulna (September 15-25). Other camps will be held in Rajshahi (September 26-October 5), Sylhet (October 6-15), Barisal (October 17-27), Chittagong (October 28-November 7), Rangpur (November 8-17) and Dhaka (November 18-27) at the divisional BSA headquarters. On the concluding day of divisional training camps, vibrant 'lathi khela' demonstrations will be held.
From December 2-16, 2010, a two-day countrywide 'lathi khela' event will be held in all seven divisions, which will be followed by a grooming camp at BSA, Dhaka (December 15-20).
"The event will end on April 14, 2011 on the Bengali New Year 1418, with a national event titled 'Jatiyo Lathi Khela'," said Lubna Marium.
A spirited demonstration of 'lathi khela' followed the press conference. Accompanied with tabla and cymbals, a troupe from Manikganj demonstrated several aspects of the art form -- with a series of simulated combative duels, using small sticks and then switching to bigger ones.
Mohammad Kabirul Islam, a trainer working on the project, also demonstrated samples of several forms.
The forms included 'Ashor Bondona', 'Dolathi', 'Upar Nichey' and more, informed Kabirul Islam.
Channel i, The Daily Star and abc radio are media partners of "Cholo Lathi Kheli".

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