Sunday, October 2, 2022

Bharatendu’s ‘Andher Nagri Chaupat Raja…’ by PATH at Srinath University Auditorium

Mail News Service

Jamshedpur, August, 17: Even after 141 years, the satirical punch to society and the political chess players, dramatist Bharatendu Harishchandra’s  immortal classic, ‘Andher Nagri-Chaupat Raja-Takey Ser Bhaji-Takey Ser Khaja’ has remained relevant through generations and has the potential of remaining thus unless civilization takes a u-turn and aligns with a new dawn of socio-political concepts that will be followed where bickering, self-seeking pursuits and all other forms of vices will be consigned to the forgotten shelves of historical irrelevance.

The play, directed by veteran Md Nizam, was staged by People’s Association for Theater (PATH) in the Srinath University Auditorium where the house-full audience was forced to smile, laugh and giggle at the reflections of a timeless reality. Saraikela-Kharsawan District Transport Officer, Dinesh Ranjan who was the chief guest on the occasion stated, “Theatre is defined as the assimilation of different colours on a platform that the stage is. It is indeed a matter of great pleasure that we have a treasure-trove of great theatre artistes who can handle such critical and satirical themes with rare aplomb.” Srinath University Chancellor, Sukhdev Mahto said, “The actors, technicians and Director Md Nizam deserve accolades and bring the characters of the play alive. Srinath University will always support PATH in all its endeavors.” Md Nizam reaffirmed Sukhdev Mahto’s contention when he observed, “Srinath University has always supported the cause of theatre and we will continue our work in this field together.”

 Coming to the play, PATH’s presentation of a play oft repeated across the country and continues to add new dimensions to an intricate satire, ‘Andher Nagri…’ was a reflection of the foregoing observation. Weather-beaten theatre actor-director Md Nizam has not only handled the theme in his expectedly reassuring manner. Handling 25 onstage characters in itself is a challenging task and added to that, the behind-the-scenes technicalities measure the depth of adroitness in a director. Md Nizam certainly acquits himself more than well as the cast and crew function in tandem like a well-oiled machine. Every artiste in his and her allotted character has performed at peak level. That there is a difference between pure comedy and satire with the common factor of laughter has rarely been proved and that rareity was proved by Team PATH. Kudos to the teamwork for presenting a polished mirror whose reflection was as clear as daylight. The audience laughed and clapped but certainly must have realized that it was a punch below the belt as that was the draconian reality prevailing on the socio-political horizon.

Set design by Rajesh Das and ably assisted by Neha Tamang and Asutosh Singh and light design handled by Khurshid Alam complemented the musical ensemble of Md Nizam and Amir Azhari as tea in a teacup.  Herself a brilliant actor, Chhavi Das as a makeup artiste was a revelation. Singling out a performer in such a grand presentation would be fool-hardy because the actors were barely decipherable while the characters stood out in flesh and blood. Through a journey of 140 plus years, Bharatendu’s ‘Andher Nagri…’ has withstood the vagaries of time because of its relevance and PATH did exactly that – provided that punch of vital relevance.

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