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Fantasies of little boy tug heartstrings

- Dak Ghara staged on Tagore’s 151st birth anniversary

Bhubaneswar, May 8: Philosophical undertones and strong imageries have always been integral to Rabindranath Tagore’s writings, with Dak Ghara being one of his evergreen masterpieces.

The play, a favourite of many directors, has been staged a number of times. On Monday, the capital had an opportunity to relish the whimsical story that was presented by a theatre group from Calcutta, to commemorate the legend’s 151st birth anniversary.

Director Lalatendu Mohanty tried to recreate the dreamy visualisations as written by Tagore through a big screen in the backdrop of the stage.

The play begins with the blissful life of Madhav and Binodini, a happily married couple. The only sting that bites their existence is the absence of a child. Frustrated with her loneliness, Binodini requests her husband to adopt a child. The play takes a serious turn when the child Amal is detected with a malignant disease.

The doctor advises Amal not to step out of his house. Now, all that the little child can do is sit beside the window, interact with passers-by and create an imaginative world of his own. Every time Amal interacts with the curd hawker, flower vendor and a kind faqir, his passion for life and desire for adventure increases. He gets involved in long discussions with these strangers on winding rivers, lush mountains, forests, birds and waterfalls.

Amal spends his never-ending long days dreaming about his adventures to distant lands. His excitement doubles when a new post office is constructed just opposite his house. He dreams about receiving a letter from the king or growing up as the king’s personal postmaster. Forgetting all his pains and worries, Amal starts looking forward to the royal day when he could meet the king.

The little boy’s imagination soon becomes the talking point of the town until one fine day the king’s royal physician personally comes to attend to the boy. Sunanda Kar’s translation is no match to that of Tagore’s. However, Amal, played by Narayan Chandra Lenka, was commendable and many a times he succeeded in touching the audience’s heartstrings. For a play that is replete with fantasies and dreams, the stage production could have been better other than just a big screen describing Amal’s visions.

The supporting cast, which includes Chaturbhuj Mahakal as Madhab and Bandana as Binodini, were good.