With dreams of theatre, from Northeast

With dreams of theatre, from Northeast


on learning mission: Wannabe artistes from Northeast India during their visit to Mysore. Dh photos by prashanth h g

What would we think of if we heard Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and recently carved out Bodoland? Extremist activities and rich culture along with hardworking people and confused yet energetic youth? If you were present among the audience who were treated to beautiful Bihu dance in the City recently, you would sure disagree.

All in their early 20s, a group of 25 young men and women have made Karnataka home as part of their journey with theatre. Aided by National School of Drama (NSD) and Seagull Theatre set up by NSD grads Bhagirathi Bai Kadam, a native of Gavadagere in Hunsur taluk, and her Assamese husband Baharul Islam, the youths spent a few days in Mysore learning Dollu Kunita, Veera Gaase, Pooja Kunita, Kamsaale among others. They are now headed to coastal Karnataka where they will learn the nuances of Yakshagana.

This is the second such programme Seagull has organised in Karnataka, with the last one done two years ago.

“These young men and women are very excited about theatre since they find it an integral part of life. Whatever be the circumstances (including extremism), theatre continues to thrive in northeast. And, when it is time for Bihu, women give it the utmost priority, and pass on the same to their kids too. Cultural expressions are a part of their tradition, hence theatre comes more naturally to them," says Bhagirathi Bai Kadam.

Seagull has been training and staging productions in Guwahati, Assam since 1993. "The only limitation is that we don't get to hold rehearsals in the evenings owing to sense of caution among the public. That apart, students we have got so far have been deeply committed and have proved their mettle all along the course duration," she adds.

Ask Shakeel or Sanjeev Buragohain what draws them to theatre, they will say there is 'life' in theatre, without batting an eyelid. For them, it is about expressing themselves and learning to create bonds where human life is always on the verge of threat. Pranab is quick to add moments spent doing theatre are the most happy ones in his life so far. 

Girls are more than willing to take up theatre full time. Hesitant smiles turn into confident expressions when one asks whether they are here for fun. “We plan to be here forever,” say Jeena, Maushumi, Pallvi, Gargi, Mrinmoi and Nandita.

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