The journey that started in 1948 after Shambhu Mitra and Bijon Bhattacharya left the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) to embark on a new venture, continues unabated as Bohurupee turns 70 on May 1, making it the oldest surviving theatre group in the country.
The group that has left its imprint on the history of the nation’s theatre movement — first under Shambhu Mitra himself and then under Kumar Roy — is readying itself to present a theatre festival to celebrate the landmark.
The festival is scheduled between April 29 and May 1 and will not only see new productions and re-staging of popular plays, but will also have in attendance theatre directors Tanvir Akhtar from Bihar and Subodh Pattanaik from Odisha.
Shambhu Mitra (along with wife Tripti), stunned the theatre world with his ‘Raktakarabi’, ‘Char Adhyay’, ‘Visharjan’, ‘Raja’, ‘Malini’ and ‘Muktadhara’. Some of the other better known plays of Mitra were adaptations from Sophocles, Ibsen, Chekov, O’neil, Brecht, Anouilh, Sartre and Sanskrit classics like Sudrak’s ‘Mirchchakatika’ along with works of contemporary playwrights. The plays were noticed by leading theatre personalities in Mumbai and Delhi as well, so much so that Marathi legends Satyadev Dubey and Mohan Rakesh sent their student Amol Palekar to watch Bohurupee plays.
“Shambhu Mitra and and Kumar Roy shaped my sensibilities ever since I came into theatre in 1967. Those were different times when the Kolkata group theatre scene lit up theatre movements in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore,” said Amol Palekar, who is still associated with Bohurupee. “Night after night, I witnessed Mitra’s Ibsenian realism shake viewers out of their stupor. There was no Bohurupee production that I missed in the city,” he recounted. He has even written for the group’s special number that is scheduled to be released on the occasion.
The piece is at the same time a remembrance of Om Puri, whom he met at a theatre lovers’ gathering in Kolkata.
A new play, ‘Medal’, written by Alok Mukhopadhyay and directed by Debesh Roy Chowdhury, will be staged at the event.
Bohurupee spokesperson Susanta Das said, “We’ll honour the state’s biggest theatre directors. Of them, Rudraprasad Sengupta worked with Mitra and Bibhas Chakraborty started out as a Bohurupee student.”
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Kolkata News / by Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey / TNN / April 24th, 2017