Nagpur : The Bengali Association and Bengali Education Society are celebrating “Poila Baisakh,” with a drama, Kankabaati and a Shruti Natak, at local Scientific Hall, Laxminagar on Monday, April 15 at 7.00 pm. Poila Baisakh marks the beginning of the New Year in the month of Baisakh according to the Bengali calendar.
The drama, Kankabaati is planned and written by Subir Bandyopadhyay of Shantiniketan, based on the story Kankaabati written by Troilokyanath Mukhopadhyay (1847-1919). Troilokyanath may be mentioned as one of the pioneer satirists in Bengali. Troilokyanath’s writings are generally a mixture of realism and fantasy and criticize the contemporary social problems and superstitions. The play takes on a folk form, which is suitable for performing on a three-side open stage.
The specialty of this play consists in a combining of music, dance, acting and showing scroll paintings. This play is greatly influenced by the performance of the ‘Potuas’, a sect of Bengali minstrels, who uses scroll paintings to assist their narratives (which are usually mythological stories). Both small and large scrolls to be used in this production.
Stylistically the story of Kankaabati comprises of three parts. The play begins and ends in realistic mode, and fantasy comes in between in the form of a dream. Kankaabati, a teenage beauty, is waiting for her beloved in a remote village. Her beloved Khshetranath, son of a poor Brahmin widow, studies in Kolkata, the city of European ‘sahibs’. Kankaabati’s father, in his greed, arranges her marriage with an eighty-year-old landlord (zamindar) for a large sum of money. Khshetranath, as soon as he comes to know of it, returns to the village and protests the marriage. But the powerful zamindar succeeds in declaring him and outcast with the help of the priest and other leaders of the village society.
Like many other folktales the drama draws to a happy ending when Khshetranath and Kankaabati look at each other with new hopes. The play presents all the serious matters in a comical way and music plays a major role.
Major role of Kankaabati and Khshetranath are played by Brajasourav Chattyopadhyay and Meghna Banerjee while Subir Bandopadhyaya directed the drama of Shantiniketan (West Bengal).
A Shruti Natak, based on Rabindranath Tagore’s Manihara, will also be staged on the occasion. It will be presented by Unmukh, a cultural group of Bengali Education Society.
Pradip Ganguly, general secretary of Bengali Education Society and Pradip Maitra, president of Bengali Association appealed to all to attend the programme and ensure its success.