Remembering Tagore's plays

Remembering Tagore's plays

Stage act

It was a special treat for all the fans of Rabindranath Tagore. While marking his 150th anniversary celebrations, National School of Drama (NSD) organised a series of plays written by Tagore during the ongoing 14th edition of Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM).

Play groups from all over the world have come to Delhi to showcase their talent and started with Tagore’s Journey To Dakghar by a group from Kolkata called Kasba Arghaya.

Directed by Manish Mitra, the play that was staged on Tuesday, turned out to be a huge success and was applauded by the audience because of its able direction and background score. Manish, who also played the role of a curd seller in the play, says, “I am not the best actor, but definitely the best director. Members of the group wanted me to perform, so other than direction, I also decided to act!”

On being asked if there was any specific reason on choosing this play, he says, “Songs and poems by Rabindranath Tagore are a part of our life. When I decided to do this play, its meaning had changed for me. I look at Tagore in a new light now.”
The ongoing festival will see 97 productions, including 16 foreign plays at 11 venues in the capital. Poland will be the international focus country with three plays and two exhibitions while fringe groups like eunuchs, dwarfs and non-actors will get an opportunity to stage their productions.

There will also be a series of allied events, including transpositions of Tagore songs and poetry in Marathi, collages of Tagore's paintings and stories about women, a patua narrative of his poems and plays, seminars and an exhibition of rare photographs of the poet's 41 directorial ventures of his own plays, Where The Mind Is Without Fear, will carry the theme of interpretation of his works to all genres of literary and performing mediums.

“Tagore is no longer confined to Bengal. We have brought him in different mediums and languages like Hindi, Bengali, Manipuri and Rava and in discourse plays where his works are discussed on stage. Tagore has acquired a pan-Indian colour and his plays at the festival are about Indian modernity which address contemporary issues,” shares NSD director Anuradha Kapur.

According to Anuradha, Tagore was “running two theatre laboratories at Shantiniketan and Jorasanko for innovation and was doing unpopular theatre at a time when huge commercial theatre was popular around him in Kolkata.”

The play Journey to Dakghar written in 1912 is the story of a man’s passionate cry for freedom. It is about the sickness of a child named Amol. The play deals with death and symbolises it as spiritual freedom.