stage set: Jatra posters displayed in Jamshedpur
Durga Puja over, Jamshedpur’s Bhuiyandih is ready to renew ties with the masters of ham acting or what the people of the city generally refer to as jatra troupes.
Jatra — or traditional high-octane dramas staged primarily for rural and semi-urban audiences — will make an appearance in the steel city’s cultural calendar between November 23 to 25 this year, courtesy the efforts of Jharkhand Sanskritik Kala Rang Manch.
The manch, a cultural organisation promoted by former revenue and land reforms minister Dulal Bhuiyan, has invited three Calcutta-based troupes — Rupomonjori Opera, Vasundhara Jatra Sansthan and Jagat Jayi Opera — to take part in the three-day cultural treat to be staged at Bhuiyandih’s Durga Puja Maidan this year.
Though the urban audience has dwindled in the recent years, the manch has still kept at it, organising the popular folk theatre form for the last 24 years now.
The troupes are slated to perform jatras like Krishno Preme Pagol Aami, Sopno Baichar Ferrywala and Shaankha Sindoorer Jore, Shami Phirbe Ghore.
“Over the years we have been organising jatras in the period after Diwali, just when winter starts to set in. We feel this is the best time. We have kept up the tradition for the past 24 years,” Bhuiyan, who is also a patron of the manch, told The Telegraph.
He claimed that the rural populace often found it easier to connect with these stage operas, whose appeal lay in the themes that they broached.
“We would be spending around Rs 5 lakh during the three days the jatras are held. For the first day we have plays based on mythology and religion scheduled to hit the stage. All the shows will run for a maximum of four to five hours daily,” Bhuiyan said.
Members of the manch claimed that Bhuiyandih’s Durga Puja Maidan literally teems with hundreds of people, mostly villagers, during the cultural treat.
“We always rely on Calcutta-based troupes. They are a bit steep but absolute professionals. The troupes are selected purely on the basis of their story,” said Ravindra Bhattacharjee, vice president of Jharkhand Sanskritik Kala Rang Manch.
He added that most of the members of the audience were villagers, who travel miles just to watch the jatra shows. The posters of the extravaganza are expected soon.
Once an exclusive male domain, jatra troupes have also undergone major changes as far as participation of women is concerned.