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The only play in a theatre festival

THEATRE: Themed around Tilka Manjhi’s resistance against British rule, 'Phurgal Dishom Reen Veer Ka' is an exercise in producing a Santhali cultural history

By Dipankar Sen
  • Published 21.03.20, 12:15 AM
  • Updated 21.03.20, 12:15 AM
  • a min read
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A play from Adirang Mahotsav. Dipankar Sen

The latest edition of Adirang Mahotsav (Dwaronda, Birbhum; January23-25) was a disappointing experience for theatre enthusiasts. Only one theatrical production held the flag of theatre tentatively aloft in an event where dance troupes from 15 Indian states showcased their talent for three consecutive evenings.

The lone theatrical presentation came from Jharkhand, in the form of a Santhali-language play, Phurgal Dishom Reen Veer Ka, directed by Jeetrai Hansda. Themed around Tilka Manjhi’s resistance against British rule, it is an exercise in producing the cultural history of the Santhali people. Although performed with dedication by actors who remain connected to the heroic characters with visible pride, there were some uncomfortable questions.