A “different intellectual and artistic discipline” that Anjan Dutt wanted to pursue, having been “saturated” after acting in and directing nearly 30 films in 20 years, turned out to be a lively, engaging act with his actor self.
From funny and irreverent to introspective and poignant — Anjan’s Galileo, which premiered at Max Mueller Bhavan on Sunday evening in association with t2, created moments and moods as diverse as his films.
The Bengali production with a smattering of English is an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s play on the life of 17th century Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo, who had challenged the belief that the earth was the centre of the universe, thus incurring the wrath of the church.
Anjan dominated the stage as the maverick Galileo, who loves the good life as much as his science, a man consumed by his passion to seek the scientific truth but so beset with mortal fears that he recants his revolutionary theory, letting down his followers. The two-hour-15-minute act is supported by a strong ensemble cast of students, friends, senators, clergymen and family members featuring Riddhi Sen, Shankar Chakraborty, Neel Mukhopadhyay, Kunal Padhy, Damini Basu, Shuvra Saurabh Das, Olipriya, Kheya and Tathagata Chowdhury.
Performed on a minimalist, high-energy set with plenty of music, kitschy props, colourful wigs, masks and posters, Galileo creates a slightly edgy but delightful storybook effect.
The live band — led by Neel Dutt, Deboprotim Baksi, Durjoy Chowdhury and Deeptarko Chowdhury — provides the interludes while also doubling as the chorus. Anjan has penned the words, while Neel has composed fresh scores for the piece.
If you missed the premiere, watch out for more shows at Gyan Manch, starting October 12.
Pictures by Pabitra Das