Mail News Service
Jamshedpur, April 24: The news of theatre icon Usha Ganguly’s death due to cardiac arrest at her Kolkata residence on the morning of Thursday, April 23, was a shocker beyond belief in the second reality spelt D-E-A-T-H. She, in her endeavor to uphold the emphatic chapter of the performing media, established RANGKARMEE in 1974 and the group had never looked back, performing plays in Indian and foreign centers to effective and awe inspiring response.
Usha was a perpetual thinker who introduced many innovative ways of performing expressions that theatre persons and teams are emulating today. All Rangkarmee productions including Holi, Court Marshal, to name a few, have remained benchmarks in theatronics. The genre of performances she engineered will continue to carry forward the bold yet simple form of stage presentations. Now, without revered Usha Ganguly’s mortal presence it is up to her theatre prodigies to hold aloft the innovative tradition she created and continued to improve on.
The theatre fraternity of Jamshedpur as elsewhere is shocked beyond belief. Theatre thespian Hari Mittal observed, ” I had no personal interaction with Ushaji. But in the course of shooting for the film ‘Panchlite’ I learnt a lot about her and her dedication to the cause of theatre through discussions during breaks with other artistes as also with the film’s director Prem Modi who all were associated with Rangkarmee. I have seen some of her productions presented in Jamshedpur and I could make out the qualities that made her the doyen of theatre. Her death is a big blow to the performing fraternity and an irreparable loss to theatre. How can one ever forget Usha Ganguly’s indelible contribution to Hindi and Bengali theatre?”
Another theatre personality and trainer Md. Nizam was pained at the demise of ‘Didi’ Usha Ganguly. He said, “At a time about 45 years ago when Bengali theatre was ruling the roost in the eastern region’s performing hubbub, Calcutta (now Kolkata) it was Ushaji who took on the mantle to establish Hindi drama with effective presentations that broadened the vistas of the performing medium not only in the City of Joy but also beyond national and international borders. It should now be our dharma to keep her alive through our efforts at sustaining the high level of performing module that she conceived and executed for us to learn and build on,” Nizam said.
Getting over and across to script writer, actor and director Ravi Kant Mishra, he spoke of the very edifice of theatre being shaken by Usha Ganguly’s passing away. Ravi noted, “The news in itself is benumbing. All the institutions of drama including the ones in Delhi and Bhopal have lost a towering theatre personality. She established the credentials of Hindi theatre effectively in Kolkata. She cared not only for theatre but for the Rangkarmi fraternity individually and collectively trying to improve their performing perspective. After the death of Utpal Dutt, a vaccum in the performing world was created and now with the death of teacher, guardian and Guru Usha Didi, the void will be more difficult to fill.”
Young theatre person and filmmaker Saurav Sumam Jha too seemed equally distraught after the news came. He stated, “It goes without saying that Ushaji’s death has come as a big blow to theatre and theatre fraternity. We have learned so much from her theatrical presentation especially the concept of simple but effective narrative. Who can forget her ‘Rudali’ or ‘Holi’ that the city’s connoisseurs and the general segments of theatre lovers lapped up? Her imprint through Hindi theatre presentations in Bengali dominated Kolkata which made avowed theatre addicts sit up, watch, applaud and ask for more is tellingly reflected in other parts of the country and across the world. She gave a new aromatic imprint to Bengali and Hindi theatre. Ushaji will remain alive through theatre.”
Legends or icons like Usha Gan?uli never die. They pass on to eternity.