Intimate exploration of an actor's agony

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 13.03.09

Surjya, a socio-cultural forum, staged two Assamese plays in intimate style in the third phase of its yearlong silver jubilee celebrations at Surjya mini auditorium.

Of these, Abastav Astitwa, authored by eminent playwright and screenplay writer Ranjit Sarma, was performed on March 4, 5 and 6.

Surjya has been taking the initiative in producing plays in intimate style for the past 18 years and after the construction of its own mini auditorium, such events have become regular affairs in the city. This latest production clearly depicts that the forum has attained an admirable height in this genre of theatre.

Abastav Astitwa deals with the inner trauma and agony of a seasoned actor Shankar Dutta — once a superstar who now sometimes gets a call for small roles.

Shankar is always so involved with the characters that even after the completion of the shooting or the stage shows he takes many days to come out of its influence.

His wife, Uma, is a self-conscious, greedy and mediocre actress who finds Shankar’s mannerisms intolerable and divorces him.

Most people in the film industry consider Shankar a lunatic, but there are a few young actors like Biman who have great respect for him.

One day, during the shooting of a film, Uma tries to seduce Biman in the make-up room in the presence of Shankar but the young actor gets annoyed and leaves the room.

Uma starts behaving rudely with Shankar, but a young woman journalist enters the room to interview the actor just then.

As Shankar talks to the journalist about his understanding of the values of life and sense of aesthetics, Uma is left stunned and speechless.

This one-act performance strikes the audience in both content and treatment.

The playwright begins the play on a romantic note with Uma and Biman sharing some intimate moments, but the mood and milieu change with the entry of Shankar.

Director Bidyut Chakraborty’s maturity and skill are reflected in the proper execution of such change with flawless lighting and Sher Choudhury’s background music (a little loud at times) and innovative use of elements such as mirror and matchbox, among others.

Chakraborty, also a seasoned stage actor, is impressive in the role of Shankar Dutta as he portrays the agony and pathos of a sensitive artist with perfection. His rendition of dialogues with tonal variation and his physical nuances addvalue to his performance.

Equally praiseworthy are the performances by Aparna Dutta Choudhury and Dibyajyoti Das as Uma and Biman.