The Telegraph
Sunday , March 23 , 2014
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Epic effort: untold stories revisited


Love, lust, power, revenge, murder and war blended as three scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata were revisited in a theatrical presentation by Miran Productions at Vidya Mandir.

Directed by Sujata Soni Bali, the founder of Miran Productions, Revisiting the Epics dwelt on Sita’s agnipariksha, Draupadi’s insult in the royal court and Abhimanyu’s death in Kurukshetra with a liberal use of contemporary dance inspired from folk forms such as chhau and kalaripayattu and poetry based on the works of Hindi poet Maithili Sharan Gupta. “Through this production we’ve tried to make people aware of the nitty gritty of the epics that are usually neglected on television or other film productions,” said Bali.

The cast included Tom Alter and Chander Khanna as narrators and Charu Sharma as Sita. The script was compiled by Twinkle Pandey.

Tribute to Bangla artist

Zainul Abedin, known as shilpacharya in Bangladesh, is remembered for his series of paintings on the Bengal famine of the 1940s. To mark Abedin’s centenary year, the Rajya Charukala Parshad seeks to highlight other aspects of his work too.

Abedin was known to take interest in everyday life around him and was quick to note the physical attributes typical of people he met on the streets. “His sketch of the kaan safaiwalla, the man who cleaned ears, is a distinguished piece of work. Every detail brings out emotions. He sketched whatever he could find around him. In fact there is a series of characters that he painted on tram tickets while travelling by tram in Calcutta,” said art critic and author Abul Monsur at a lecture titled Pratyohik Jibone Zainul Abediner Shilpokormo (Zainul Abedin’s Artistic Contribution in Everyday Life) at Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi.

Speaking about Abedin’s Bengal Famine series, Monsur said: “What strikes us most is the hollow look in all characters. Most of them are either dead or dying. The long brush strokes show how confident the artist was about the message he was trying to convey.” As thousands lost their lives and livelihood, the artist depicted in great detail with black ink all that he saw.

Jogen Chowdhury, chairman of the Rajya Charukala Parshad, spoke about Abedin’s connect with Calcutta, where he was a student at the Government College of Art and Craft. “There is always a connect between the city and his artistic psyche because his training happened here.”

Student films

Seventy-nine films were screened over four days in the second edition of the National Student Film Awards and the Clapstick International Students’ Film Festival at Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute. Filmmaker Ketan Mehta, who was present at the closing ceremony, lauded FTII and SRFTI for initiating the student film awards.

A performer at Turning Point. (Rashbehari Das)

“Cinema is the most powerful medium created by humanity. We are the mirrors to the world. But along with this power there is also a certain sense of responsibility involved. How we use it and what we have to say is as important, if not more, than the form that carries it. It is the strongest globalising force humanity has seen so far. And I am here to celebrate the entry of wonderful young blood into the medium,” he said.

Talent hunt

That music has the power to break barriers was proved yet again as persons with behavioural disorder took part in a talent hunt hosted by NGO Turning Point.

Participants, young and old, thronged Gallery Gold to sing, dance, recite and act and impress judges and family. “It touches your heart when you see them helping one another,” said Ishita Sanyal, the director of Turning Point.

Contributed by Showli Chakraborty, Samabrita Sen and Trina Chaudhuri