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Innovation reduced to mediocrity

Uninspiring performances pulled down Arun Sarma’s Chitralekha to mediocrity, despite an extravagant and impressive stage design.

Presented by Katha Theatre at Rabindra Bhawan from January 27 to 30, the play, not surprisingly, evoked mixed reactions.

The story revolves around celebrity classical dancer Chitralekha Priyadarshini.

Daughter of an unwed mother, Chitralekha is rejected by her boyfriend, Aniruddha.

Devastated, Chitralekha finds a direction in life when she picks up a few girls from the red light area and begins her own dance repertory.

Young corporate executive Arnab falls in love with Anuradha, one of the girls in the troupe.

He, too, backtracks once he learns about Anuradha’s background.

The play ends with a dance performance by the troupe protesting against male chauvinism.

Music is a significant part of this play and Charukamal Hazarika and Manas Barua’s score helped build the climax.

The sets were simple but innovative.

Four long, perpendicular structures made of cloth, a blank canvas, two huge open diaries — the props added to the splendour.

To give credit to the stage designers, all the props, despite being eye-catching, did not interfere with the actors’ movements.

The director’s treatment of the moments in flashback was praiseworthy. But a little more care would have made the production gripping.

Trisha Saikia, in the role of Priyadarshini (Chitralekha’s mother), stole the show.

It was a small role but brought alive by Trisha’s sensitive portrayal.

Anjanamoyee as Chitralekha, Mihirjyoti Barua as Banajit Barua, Zerifa Wahid as Anuradha and Chinmoy Chakrabortty as Arnab were disappointingly average.

While Anjanamoyee was a little uneasy in a few scenes, Mihirjyoti’s melodramatic style faltered.

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