Residents of Balaka Abasan enact Sadanandar Saat Kahan and (right) those from East Enclave stage Bhoot Bhobishyot. (Below) Sambrita Kuila of Akankha complex performs Odissi. (Saradindu Chaudhury)
The housing complexes in New Town may be far between but residents from more than 20 of them converged at Rabindra Tirtha for the first annual Winter Festival of the township. Every evening between December 26 and 30, residents young and old took stage to showcase talent from their campuses.
At the opening ceremony local MLA Sabyasachi Dutta encouraged residents’ participation and asked them to conceive a New Town fair alongside this festival from next year. Principal secretary, urban development department, Debashis Sen, said the success of this year’s event would determine its scale the next year and also hinted at some intra-New Town competitions in the near future.
There were scores of solo classical dances, group folk dances, recitations and Rabindrasangeet. Aditi Debnath, a Class VIII student of Balaka Abasan, sat in the audience on Day One with a shawl wrapped tightly over her gorgeous sari. “It’s so cold today I don’t know how I’ll dance,” said the little Bharata-natyam dancer. She and her friends would go on to perform to a Shiva stotra. “I feel like I’ve got a promotion. After dancing all this while at my complex, I have now qualified to perform before the entire township.”
Koli Dubey of Greenfield Ambition sang two Rabindra-sangeets and vouched for the quality of performances from her complex. “We have started a ladies club and practise regularly. That is why we were ready for this festival, even on a short notice.” The former resident of Salt Lake’s HB Block says she was active there as well, “but that was a rented home. Since New Town will be our home for good I feel like making the extra effort here.”
An audio drama that had the audience in splits was Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s Bhoot Bhobishyot. Performed by Pritam Karmakar, Sharmista Kundu Paul and Shourjya Ghosh of East Enclave, it was about a ghost irritating a newly wed couple in their new house. “It felt especially great when strangers from other complexes came up to congratulate us,” said Shourjya, who played the ghost.
Greenwood Sonata brought all its performers under a single umbrella and performed a song-dance-recitation collage titled “Elo je sheeter bela. “Since we just got a half-hour slot, we decided to put up a team effort, comprising 28 of us,” said Tufan Adhikari, who along with Asitabh Sur, penned a script weaving in everybody.
To depict the onset on winter, three children dressed as a rat, a cat and an owl showed that they were shivering. Little girls danced to songs like Poush toder daak diyechhe and Sheeter hawar laglo nachan, sung by Raka Ghosh and choreographed by Paramita Adhikari. They even had actors playing Santa Claus and a baul. Teenager Yash Muniramka provided music with his synthesiser.
The grand finale every evening was a play. Children of East Enclave performed Laxmaner Shaktishel, written by Sukumar Ray; residents of Balaka put up Sadanandar Saat Kahan and residents of Greenwood Park performed Mohit Chattopadhyay’s Pathor. “Actually we had put up this play in our puja function in 2011 so most of the actors knew what to do. Rehearsal didn’t take much time,” said Biplab Basu, who took part in the Greenwood Park play.
There was one play that brought together actors from different campuses. The credit goes to Anikesh Banerjee of NBCC Vibgyor complex for directing the play Khelar Ghor. “Getting seven people from faraway corners to practise together was so difficult that I could not manage to act myself,” said Banerjee, delighted with the end result. But having got to meet like-minded theatre enthusiasts through the festival, he promised to pull off a full scale New Town stage production by May.
The other cross-complex performance was choir Rabindrasangeet, led by Saikat Ali Molla of Utsa. The entire programme was compered by Mrinalini Biswas, a resident of Balaka who also performed Bharatanatyam.