Popular Bengali play Shajano Bagan to be staged in English in Bengaluru
Though Bengali film actor Manoj Mitra is known for the diverse roles he has portrayed, the actor is fondly remembered more as a playwright. Among the hundreds of plays that have been penned by Mitra, the most well-known is Shajano Bagan. The English translation of this play by renowned theatre artistes Sangeeta and Ranjon Ghoshal, titled The Blooming Orchard, will be staged this week in the city.
Yours or mine
It’s the story of a 95-year-old fruit farmer who owns an orchard. Everyone around him, right from his grandson, land-grabbers and thieves to a ghost, are waiting to acquire the orchard. “When I first watched the Bengali play 40 years ago,I realised that this wasn’t just a regular humorous play. It looks at the perspective of how you see life when things go topsy-turvy,” explains Ranjon who has also directed the English production. The English version of the play too is an absolute comedy with an uproarious turn of events. The land grabber strikes a deal with the old man to acquire the orchard, while a petty thief, a quack in the village, a bluffing astrologer, an aspiring film producer, a political rowdy a tantric priest, a ghost of a zamindar and others want a slice of the land.
The Blooming Orchard is being revived with an all new cast after a gap of 12 years. Bengalureans might remember film actor Gulshan Devaiah was among the cast earlier. “The difference now is that all the actors are new in this production and music has been originally composed. But there is a surprise element at the end of the play which wasn’t there earlier,” reveals Ranjon. He goes on to explain how this play follows Bertolt Brecht’s alienation effect of making the familiar appear strange to engage audience with the play critically rather than emotionally. “In the play, everyone wants to get rid of the old man. But even as the antagonist is trying to kill the owner, the latter grows stronger. In real life, it might be the opposite, where with every move, the person being targeted grows weaker,” offers Ranjon. While the play is interwoven with such nuances, the director assures this is going to be an uproarious and highly entertaining comedy.
Rs 200. January 13, 4 pm and 7pm. At Rangoli Art Centre, MG Road.