JAGATSINGHPUR: The lockdown has come as a blessing in disguise for jatra (opera) artistes who have been able to come out of their otherwise busy lives to spend some quality time with their family members.
The artistes spend over 300 days in a year travelling to different places with their troupes. They are now making up for the time lost due to their busy schedule with their loved ones.
Unlike other districts, Jagatsinghpur has several opera troupes which have kept alive the old tradition of theatrical plays. Parbati Gananatya, Gouri Gananatya, Tulasi Gananatya, Trinath Gananatya and Durgashree Gananatya are some of the famous opera houses which are popular not only in the district but also across the State. These opera houses employ hundreds of actors and actresses. With shows lined up throughout the year, these actors hardly get any time to spend with their family members. But the lockdown has brought a respite from their hectic lives.
Renowned opera artiste of Tulasi Gananatya Hrusikesh Mishra of Bijipur village in Erasama block said this was the best phase of his life. “Generally, we get breaks for only two to three months in a year and that too is spent on rehearsal for new shows. There is hardly any time for our family members. The lockdown has given us an opportunity to spend time with our near and dear ones,” he said. Since all opera shows have been cancelled, Mishra is staying at home with his wife, children and parents.
“Now, my day starts with teaching the kids, cultivating vegetables in the backyard of the house, helping my wife with her domestic chores and watching Ramayana and Mahabharata on TV with the entire family. This is a new experience for me,” he added. Another popular artiste Suvendu Chaudhry, who plays the villain, said he and his wife both perform with the Biswa Darbar Gananatya. “We work continuously for several months and during this period, we stay away from our children. But now, I am getting enough time to spend with three kids. Besides, I also assist in household work,” he said. Artiste in the newly-formed Rajdhani opera Shuva Khuntia of Manijanga is also not complaining about the restrictions. “The lockdown has given me a chance to bond with my family members,” he said.