Sunday date with Bratya Basu at Mohit Moitra Mancha

Even as he was picking up accolades for his turn as an abusive/passionate husband in Asamapto in the first week of March, Bratya Basu got under way a grand plan for theatre — four new plays to be staged at one venue on four consecutive Sunday evenings, for six months on the trot.

By Reshmi Sengupta
  • Published 7.04.17
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(Second from left, above) Bratya Basu at the rehearsal of Banijye Basati Lakshmi before last Sunday’s show, at Mohit Moitra Mancha. Pictures: Pabitra Das

Even as he was picking up accolades for his turn as an abusive/passionate husband in Asamapto in the first week of March, Bratya Basu got under way a grand plan for theatre — four new plays to be staged at one venue on four consecutive Sunday evenings, for six months on the trot.

Under Bratya’s mentorship, theatre groups Paikpara Indraranga, Theatre Platform, IFTA and Naihati Bratyajon are mounting four new productions at Mohit Moitra Mancha, an out-of-use auditorium in Paikpara that was revived for staging about three years ago by a group of theatre workers including Bratya.

“A six-month run of four new productions in one location is unprecedented in the history of Bengali theatre. If we are successful, we will go for another six months,” says Bratya, who has written three of the plays and directed two.

There is variety in the content and form of the plays. Banijye Basati Lakshmi is about “the flight of capital from Bengal, about the poor state of entrepreneurship in Bengal”, says the state minister for information technology and electronics.

The plot centres around a young man with entrepreneurial ambitions and traces his struggle to setting up a business. 

Hridipash, also written by Bratya, is about a man’s search for identity, with Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex as metaphor. “I have set Oedipus Rex in the context of Partition. There’s a boy from Faridpur who embarks on a journey.”

Fourth Bell is more experimental in structure, where the second half happens in the first half and the first half happens later. The last play of the month, Ekush Gram, is adapted from 21 Grams, the second part of Mexican filmmaker Inarritu’s Trilogy of Death films. 

The idea for the project germinated after Paikpara Indraranga staged houseful shows of Awdya Shesh Rajani, under Bratya’s direction, last year. “We did Awdya Shesh Rajani every Sunday for four months at Mohit Moitra Mancha, and we had people from far-off places like Behala, Santipur and even Ghusuri coming over. After the success of this play, we wondered if we could do something around Mohit Mancha,” says Indrajit Chakraborty, director of Paikpara Indraranga. 

All four plays have debuted on four Sundays of March. The project has got Bratya excited for various reasons, the opportunity to work with different theatre groups, other than his own, Kalindi Bratyajon, being one. “I don’t want to think I belong to any particular group. I am doing experimental theatre with whoever is inviting me. I have chosen these four theatre groups for the project as I felt they are promising. And this project is also generating so much employment for so many people,” he adds.

Any plans to return to acting on stage? “I will, but I will do it under someone else’s direction.” We take a wild guess. Is it his long-time friend and Asamapto director? Bratya laughs. “Yes, Suman (Mukhopadhyay) and I have talked about it. He will direct, I will act."


1st Sunday — Banijye Basati Lakshmi, play and direction: Bratya Basu; group: Paikpara Indraranga
2nd Sunday — Hridipash, play by Bratya, directed by Debasish Ray; group: Theatre Platform
3rd Sunday — Fourth Bell, play by Bratya, directed by Debasish Dutta; group: IFTA
4th Sunday — Ekush Gram, play by Ujwal Chattopadhyay, directed by Bratya; group: Naihati Bratyajon
(Show timing: 6.30pm every Sunday till August-end. Tickets available at the venue from 10am to 6.30pm on Sundays, and 1pm-7pm on other days)