Bengali theatre (produced mainly in West Bengal, and in Bangladesh) primarily refers to theatre performed in the Bengali language and has its origins in British rule. It began as private entertainment in the early 19th century. In early stage, Bengali theatres played a pivotal role in manifesting dislike of the British rule. Theatres in West Bengal can be broadly divided into Kolkata-based and rural. Outside Bengali-speaking areas, the term “Bengali theatre” primarily refers to Kolkata-based groups, as the rural theatres are less well-known. The two types are similar in form and content.
Source – Wikipedia (Bengali Theatre)
Today this form of entertainment is old and almost at the verge of wrapping up. In early times Northern part of old Calcutta use to be the area for these theatre groups. All the major theatre halls situated there are almost closed now and some are renovated and used as movie junctions. Making a career with this passion is a myth now.
Recently I managed to see two such drama acts and being a photographer I clicked some shots during the stage show. I will be continuing this project and try to capture the perished roots of Bengali Theatre.
The first play narrates a story of a little child burdened with the demands of his parents. The dream to fulfill his parents wishes becomes a nightmare and one day an alien entity helps the boy to become superior in all. The parents do not realises that what they asks for is a one way ticket for the child unless it is too late.
The second act recites the story of a mother left unattended by her son and daughter-in-law. The selfish act of her son went beyond the limits, when she decides to leave the shelter and go to her adopted son’s house in Kolkata. In the middle of the busy streets of the city, tired and weak she drops in the road unconscious, when a cab driver spots her.
Without giving a second thought the driver jumps down from his car and makes all possible attempts to make her conscious and succeeds. He ask about her whereabouts and she fakes her identity and shows him that she remembers nothing. The driver takes her to his home, which is in a slum area and upon reaching there his wife surprised and angry of his deed, insist him to report the case to the authority. The old women resist this option and ask for a nights shelter in their home.
Strangers become family and the old women overwhelmed and happy accepts them to be her son and daughter. The orphan couple graced by her motherly presence decides to keep her till her real identity is found.
Back in other scene, her adopted son on getting the news that her mother is missing searches the streets of the city and with a heavy heart goes to the authorities and lodges a missing diary. Circumstances bring all of them together in the police station and the old women tells the truth about the deeds of her selfish son and by her own will and sane senses decides to stay with the orphan couple forever.