A cultural fiesta

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By Emami Cultural Fiesta, with t2, started on a high note with the Sabri brothers
  • Published 23.03.14

Emami Cultural Fiesta in association with t2 hit the high note with a memorable qawwali performance by the Sabri Brothers — Aftab and Hashim Sabri — at Kala Mandir on March 18. “We have performed in Calcutta before. And the way the people of Calcutta respect music and artistes, no other city does. Shukriya to all of you,” declared the qawwals, as they took the audience on a magical ride starting with Chaap tilak sab chheeni.

Qawwali, Sufi and soulful Bollywood numbers held the auditorium in thrall as the brothers rendered, pitch-perfect of course, songs like Hamein toh loot liya milke husan walone, Khwaja mere khwaja (Jodhaa Akbar),Yeh jo halka halka suroor hai, Tumse milke dil ka hai jo haal (Main Hoon Na) and many more.

The audience was not shy in putting forth requests. If the elderly wanted Chadhta suraj dheere dheere, the youngsters wanted Pee loon (Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai).

The moment of absolute wonder? Their powerful rendition of Dama dam mast kalandar. Half the audience stood up, started clapping and singing along to the the most-requested-for song.

“It was a great musical evening. The audience responded very well especially when it came to requests for songs. When the Sabri Brothers sing, it seems they communicate with each one in the audience. This is a different genre altogether. We hope to host similar programmes in the future,” promised Aditya Agarwal, director, Emami Group.

Emami Cultural Fiesta, with t2, PRESENTED Alyque padamsee’s death of a salesman

(L-R) Jim Sarbh, Alyque Padamsee and Neel Tolani; (above) Sabira Merchant with Padamsee in
Death of A Salesman at Kala Mandir

A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man. He works for a company 36 years this March, opens up unheard-of territories to their trademark, and now in his old age they take his salary away.

That’s the predicament of Willy Loman, an ageing salesman who makes his living “riding on a smile and a shoeshine”, in the words of his wife Linda.

Theatre lovers in Calcutta witnessed his tale on March 19 and 20, as actor-director Alyque Padamsee staged Arthur Miller’s Death of A Salesman, co-hosted by Theatrecian and presented by Emami in association with t2, at Kala Mandir.

“The play is about human beings and human condition. Willy is a dominant father and the mother, Linda, is caught between the eldest son and the father. The mother is worshipped but the father is the boss. More important, it is about a time when there was high inflation and people were losing jobs. Like in India today. That’s what makes the play, written in 1949, so relevant even in 2014 India,” said Padamsee before the play.

Padamsee played Willy while Sabira Merchant was Linda, and they were backed by a cast of young and veteran actors — Neel Tolani, Jim Sarbh, Farrokh Mehta, Farid Currim, Nishith Dhanak, Cyndy Khojol and Nivvy Randhawa.

The struggles of the elder son (Biff) to do something worthwhile, his father’s aspiration for him, Willy’s helplessness as he gets fired after a lifetime of dedicated service, Linda’s unfailing love for her husband and Biff’s finding out about his father’s closeness to another woman — situations and moments such as these lead to the climax where Willy, unable to cope, decides to quit living.

Sibendu Das
Pictures: Pabitra Das and Sayantan Ghosh