“Ekalabya” exits the stage
Those who have seen Desh Natok's hugely successful play, “Nityapuran” (2001), will definitely recall its protagonist Ekalabya. The “Mahabharat” inspired production saw a superbly fitting, bold and energetic Ekalabya on the stage.
Perhaps the indomitable character, the tragic hero Ekalabya will remain in people's mind forever but the actor within the character has left the stage -- for good.
Dilip Chakrabarty, our beloved Ekalabya, who was considered as one of the brightest actors in the Dhaka theatre scene, died on September 17 at his residence in Dhaka. He was only 44. He was found dead in the evening. Doctors suspect it was heart attack, though the final post mortem report is yet to be released.
After a public paying of respects at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy yesterday noon, his body was taken to his family home in Tangail for the last rites.
Chakrabarty's colleagues and friends informed that he never married.
After a hiatus, he made a comeback on the stage through Desh Natok's recent production “Arakkhita”, written by Mahbub Leelen and directed by Ishrat Nishat. Chakrabarty's last stage appearance was in the fifth show of the play on June 5 this year at the National Theatre Hall. He played the protagonist, Shukracharya, the arrogant and alcoholic priest who blindly loves his daughter.
He did not perform in Desh Natok's previous productions -- “Prakrito Purangana” and “Bhakto”. Around this time he tried to make a career on television.
Right after the premiere of “Arakkhita”, Chakrabarty talked to The Daily Star about his theatre career, Desh Natok's achievements and aims, the current trends in acting and more. Chakrabarty said that when he joined Desh Natok in 1989, theatre activists were highly involved in social and political movements.
He considered Shukracharya in “Arakkhita” as a major challenge.
“I have just started to play the role of Shukracharya. It will take time to fit into the role with ease. I hope I will improve gradually,” he said during the interview.
Both as Ekalabya and Shukracharya, his diction, body language and spontaneity will be considered as fine examples of skilled acting.
Chakrabarty first appeared on stage at his village in Tangail in 1985, four years before he joined Desh Natok. “Ahor Kandal”, a Janmoshutra repertory production, is another good example of his performance. He also appeared in Desh Natok's “Darpan-e Sharat Shoshi”.
Desh Natok will hold a programme to pay tribute to Chakrabarty at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, on September 21 afternoon.