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The magic of Thakurmar Jhuli

Away with the flying brooms and magic potions; Hogwarts was definitely not the first school of magic that we attended! When it comes to timeless magical tales, look closer and at Ghumonto Puri and Saat Bhai Champa, which have had Bengali households in a grip of fantasy since the early 20th century.

Giving you an opportunity to rewind and revisit childhood is the 12th Vodafone Odeon Theatre Festival, partnered by t2. The folk and fairy tales from Thakurmar Jhuli are all set to come alive today as Calcutta Choir takes the stage at Vidya Mandir, 7.30pm onwards.

“We all have a child inside us and at times we act childish just to enjoy our childhood once again. Thakurmar Jhuli is one book that still attracts people of all ages. So, after the massive hit of our play Gupi Baghar Kando, we thought of staging timeless tales from this book,” said Kalyan Sen Barat, the director of Thakurmar Jhuli and Calcutta Choir.

Since 1907, Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumder’s timeless effort has been enlivening dull afternoons and dreary nights with stories of battle between good and evil. Even today, grandparents love to bring out a tattered copy of the compilation for which Rabindranath Tagore had written the foreword.

But will the play have in it all the stories? “We amalgamated two stories into the play, mainly Buddhu Bhutum and Lalkamal-Neelkamal, and we have tried our best to make it seem like one story, so that the audience doesn’t find inconsistencies.... Bandor, Pyancha and Buri are popular characters,” explained Kalyan Sen Barat.

Running since 2006, the play makes many wonder whether it is a musical or plain drama. “This is not a typical drama. This is an operatic dance theatre in which dancing forms the base. To make it attractive for children we have used loud colours that are usually not used on stage. Then there are on-stage feats like a 13-foot snake gobbling up a prince, a boat crashing and breaking into two,” said the man at the helm. Heavy on props and colours, the play brings together 70 artistes.

But are kids the target audience? “Of course not. Children are a priority, but then it is equally fascinating for the older generation, for it allows them to walk down memory lane,” signed off KSB.

From the wings

Tuesday

What: Thakurmar Jhuli

Where: Vidya Mandir

When: 7.30pm

Wednesday

What: Oedipus

Where: Vidya Mandir

When: 7.30pm

Thursday

What: Lakshmir Pariksha

Where: Vidya Mandir

When: 7.30pm

Friday

What: Ashamanya

Where: GD Birla Sabhagar

When: 7.30pm

Tickets for all the plays are available at select Vodafone stores, the venues, and at www.indianstage.in

Sreyoshi Dey