Keeping the city's Bengali stage alive
For some a passion for something is difficult to repress. This would be true of the 65 professionals who moonlight as actors, directors, light and sound artistes, make-up and costume artistes, choreographers, backstage help and support team for the Bengali theatre troupe ENAD.
Aware that their amateur status, sets them a few steps behind, ENAD meets over weekends to rehearse plays for seven to eight months before a performance. “Just because we are amateurs it doesn’t mean theatre is not a serious pursuit for us,” says Amitava Baksy, also reasoning why despite catering to a niche Bengali audience in Bangalore they never mix their events with other cultural promotions of the region. “Of course, we set up a tea stall because Bengalis can’t do without the beverage but no food and artifacts stalls, not at all,” adds Baksy who founded ENAD in California in 2000.
ENAD will be staging Badal Sarkar’s Jodi Aar Ekbaar (If Once Again) on September 7 at ADA Rangamandira, J C Road. “This play was once staged by Bahurupi stalwarts Shambhu Mitra and Ramaprasad Banik 39 years ago and I, personally, consider Banik my guru. The play deals on how fulfillment of dreams will fail to bring happiness if we fail to change ourselves.
“Bengalis in Bangalore are largely an educated lot and appreciate intellectual themes. Though, unlike troupes in Kolkata we can’t take too many concessions and stage political plays, that won’t work here neither will anything flippant,” says Baksy.
ENAD, short for Ekti Natoker Dol (a drama group), first staged two shows of Jodi Aar Ekbaar in January, this year, at K H Kala Soudha. “It was house full,” says Baksy, the play’s director who is also a senior technologist with an IT major. That performance brought the troupe’s count to 41 shows of 17 productions.
ENAD will stage Badal Sarkar’s Jodi Aar Ekbaar on September 7, at ADA Rangamandira, at 4 and 7 pm.