Performed with perfection

Valmiki Pratibha, a dance drama written by Rabindranath Tagore, was held at the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall recently. The show was organised by the Tagore Cultural Centre, the cultural wing of The Bengalee Association.

Directed by Alokananda Roy, the show captivated the audience not only because it was performed with perfection, but also because the troupe consisted of 40 prisoners from the jails — Presidency and Alipore — in Kolkata. This performance was a part of the pioneering reform process that started in 2007, giving the inmates of these prisons a chance to express themselves creatively and carve a niche for themselves in the field of art and craft.

The group has already done more than 50 shows in various cities across the country.  The dance drama had an amalgamation of different folk and traditional art forms like chou, a fusion of Odissi dance and bharatanatyam.


The popular folklore, which was weaved into a beautiful dance drama by Tagore, showcased the transformation of a dreaded dacoit into Rishi Valmiki. Right from the set, props to music, the choreographer put in her best to make the dance drama a perfect one. The team performed like any other professional dance troupe and got a standing ovation from the audience after the show.

The music went well with the mood of the show and the coordination among the group was noteworthy. Each scene had something new to offer.  Nigel Akkara, who played the lead role in the dance drama, is an example of how art can change lives. Having strayed into crime as a student, Nigel is now a compassionate person thanks to this part.

The packed hall appreciated the efforts of the team and broke into an applause every now and then. “It was a great show. Every small detail was kept in mind and the way the choreographer treated this dance drama is commendable. Not even once did I feel that it was not a regular group of dancers performing,” said Sonali, who attended the show.
Many others felt that the visual effects and music added to the show.

“I loved the part which depicted nature. In fact, all the scenes had something unique. I am sure a lot of effort has gone into the making of this dance drama. The end result was fabulous. I would surely want to see more of this troupe,” said Atindra, who attended the show with his family.

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