Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Feminine Vanguard of Kolkata theatre - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

Femme Fatale has usually been a pejorative term in the English language. But in the Dionysian world of theatre - first celebrated for the god of wine in ancient Greece -- Femme Fatales could very aptly describe the brave feminine front that has emerged in the two theatre-conscious metropolises. In Delhi, this critic knew the quartet of fiery female directors from the charmed circle of NSD: Neelam Mansingh, Anuradha Kapoor, Kirti Jain and Tripurari Sharma who have, together, created virtually a creative storm in the world of avant garde theatre in Hindi, and Joy Michael of 'Yatrik' in English theatre. In Kolkata, following the exemplary footsteps of the iconic Tripti Mitra - whose directorial oeuvre, beginning from Dakghar (1957), her solo classic Aparajita (1971), her Hindi ventures Guria Ghar (1980) and Sanjh Dhaley (1985), up to her last direction, Sarisrip (1987) had created waves among the cognoscente -- the suave Sohag Sen appeared and there has been no looking back ever since.

If one attempts a very brief recapitulation of the thirteen major women directorial talents active today in the Kolkata drama scene - in no particular chronological order -- whose impact on Bengali theatre has been nothing less than an artistic Tsunami, Sohag Sen would stand foremost, with her forte in depicting urban middle class. Having directed plays by dramatists as varied as Mahesh Elkunchwar and Botho Strauss, her association with theatre and allied media spans a period of almost sixty years. As an actor, she started her career under the guidance of the legendary Utpal Dutt in the year 1969 and her latest directorial venture Chhota Chabi (reviewed in these columns), was very well received in 2019.

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