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Pan-Indian take on Tagore tales

Caleidoscope

They plan to “rediscover and resurrect Tagore and his pan-Indian personality” through their annual festival of theatre, dance and music. The latest edition of Rabindra Utsav, that city-based group Happenings began six years ago, started on Friday and will continue till November 9. The performances will be at Star theatre, Tollygunge Club, ICCR, and the Lipika auditorium in Santiniketan.

Some of the theatre groups to look out for this year are Jana Natya Manch, a radical group from Delhi founded by the late Safdar Hashmi, Badungduppa, the Rabha community’s own group from Goalpara, Assam, founded by director Sukracharjya Rabha, and Ninasam, a 60-year-old group from Heggodu, Karnataka, led by Akshara K.V.

The interest will be around the way these groups present Tagore’s works. Sudhanva Deshpande’s play Char Rang (on November 6, ICCR) will be an unusual take on Chaturanga. Here the four main characters of Tagore’s novella, Sachish, Sribilash, Damini and Sachish’s uncle Jagmohan appear as puppets whose lives crisscross with four contemporary characters travelling in Delhi Metro — a teacher who discusses Tagore with a student, a young man and a menacing old man.

Badungduppa’s adaptation of Tagore’s Rather Rashi (November 4, Tollygunge Club) emphasises the way the caste system works in our society unabated, causing further fragmentation.

Akshara K.V. bases his play Babugiri (November 7, ICCR) on the short stories The Babus of Naynjore and My Lord, The Baby.

On Day One, Attyam Kalakshetra a city-based dance group premiered their dance drama Lajwanti. All shows are from 7pm and tickets range from Rs 40-60.