Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Various shades of humanity and femininity

Chanda Mama Door Ke [Hindi] 75 minutes
Director: M.K. Raina, On Stage: Neeta Mohindra
Playwright: Based on Oriana Fallaci’s 'Letters to an Unborn Child'    
Chanda Mama Door Ke is a play based on an Italian play Letters to an Unborn Child written by Oriana Fallaci. It is a dialogue between a mother and her unborn child. A modern, educated and liberal woman of today, the protagonist of the play raises questions about the rights of an unborn child. She starts talking to the child the day she conceives and she continues to do so, treating her unborn chills as an intelligent, equal, individual being who can both comprehend as well as respond to the range of social, political and personal issues that are being discussed with it. As the play progresses so too does the  dialogue, gradually moving beyond the mother-child paradigm onto a new level of human understanding and communication.           
Darjiparar Marjinara [Bengali] 100 minutes
Direction: Koushik Sen, Playwright: Bratya Basu
Moving through the narrow lanes of Sonagachi, one of the largest red-light areas of Asia, the play looks at the diversity of people : brokers, policemen, clients and prostitutes : whose lives lie encapsulated and touched by the socio-political and personal dynamics of the place. As the history of Sonagachi is revealed through them, we realize that the play is not about prostitution and physical desire but rather about a form of globalization in which everything is commodified.  Revealing the dark side of the so-called free world, the plot explores how everything can be bought in today’s world - Creativity, Ethics, Trust, Love, Faith - and how there is a certain darkness that is spreading through all barriers of time and space.
Mahim Junction [Hindi] English, Hindi & Punjabi, 95 minutes
Playwright & Director: Sohaila Kapur      
Mahim Junction is a spoof on the Bollywood of the 70s with a contemporary sensibility. The story is set in a slum that has encroached upon a disused local train platform in suburban Mumbai. The colourful characters  - Radha and Rahim, the lovers; Johnny the drunk, in love with Ayesha the cross dresser; Kaladhandha, the villainous film producer, and others -  eke out their living in the midst of poverty, exploitation, corruption and communalism, with the typical joie de vivre style of Bollywood characters. The musical sings and dances its way through two stories, a love tale between a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy, and that of Kaladhandha, who provides the political subtext and brings the two together for a happy ending in true Bollywood fashion.
Tumi Daak Diyecho Kon Sakaale [Bengali] 90 minutes
Design & Direction: Adrija Dasgupta
Playwrights: Adrija Dasgupta & Anirban Bhattacharya
A play about Keya Chakrabarti, a brilliant writer and actress who died an untimely death in relative oblivion, the play brings together fragments of her life, her writings, her favorite songs, poems, thoughts and philosophies as  expressed by her and  the characters she created. In the course of the play Keya is painted on several canvasses in a fragmented form, and all these different images of her as an actress, a storyteller, an essayist, a  gifted but lonely human being, combine together to create a persona that encapsulates various shades of humanity and femininity.
S*x, M*rality & Cens*rship [Hindi & Marathi] 150 minutes
Director: Sunil Shanbag, Playwright: Shanta Gokhale  
S*x, M*rality & Cens*rship is a seduction of ideas exploring one of the most controversial issues of our time – morality and censorship. The play flashes back to the early ‘70s when Vijay Tendulkar’s classic, Sakharam Binder, set off a storm of controversy in the theatre scene. The stage censor board came down heavily on the script, and the play was attacked by sections of society. The unusual story of Sakharam Binder, the parallel world of tamasha, and the amazing spirit of the '70s  all make up an exciting mix of theatre, memory, live music, dance, and video. The show provokes, challenges, entertains, and asks the question – who says ‘No’ and ‘Why’?
The evening programme of 7 January will focus on the music composed by and used in the plays directed by Mohan Upreti, including his compositions influenced by folk music on the one hand and classical forms on the other, for plays such as Ali Baba, Mother, Amir Khusro and Lo Basant Aya amongst others. Cast & Credits: Bhagwat Upreti (Music Coordinator), Govind Pandey (Script & Production), Naima Upreti (Adviser) 
The performers of the Academy Theatre, on 11 January, traverse a journey of the music of Bengal, particularly its songs, that co-ordinate different elements of scenic presentation. Bengal's entertainers explored many routes - historical, political and social with scenic investiture, to entail melodious and mellifluous songs and in the process the genre of Manchagaan or theatre-song came into being to express emotions, reconcile conflict and afford a climax on the stage through language and music. It highlights the work of Rabindranath Tagore, Madhusudan Dutt, Dinabandhu Mitra, Sambhu Mitra and Utpal Dutt amongst others from the Bengali theatre music tradition. The programme featuring Devajit and Riddhi Bandyopadhyay will portray the trends of Manchagaan of the 19th and 20th century entertainers. Drawing upon research in recordings, notations, prompt-books, and clippings this documentation offers an exciting and altogether original view of artistic translation between life and stage. The programme presents a retrospective of the songs of different genres tracing the evolution of the performing art as well as popular culture of Bengal in a mix of the indigenous and the alien approaches in theatre, accessible to all class of people -- artistes and artisans. Cast & Credits: Dr. Devajit Bandyopadhyay (Script and Direction), Singers- Riddhi Bandyopadhyay and Devajit Bandyopadhyay 

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