Jogesh Mime Academy to stage Khudiram to commemorate the freedom fighter’s death anniversary
Jogesh Mime Academy is all set to stage Khudiram, a mime production based on the life of freedom fighter Khudiram Bose, who was hanged to death at a young age, for attempting to murder Douglas Kingsford, the then Chief Presidency Magistrate of Calcutta, during the Indian freedom movement.
The mime act, which was originally conceived by the founder Jogesh Dutta in 1977, has been redesigned for the stage by Dilip Bhattacharya, a senior student of the academy, to commemorate the death anniversary of the young hero, who was hanged on August 11, 1908.
“The death of Khudiram made a huge impact on the entire freedom movement itself. While our production asks a very pertinent question- Whether or not the event (Khudiram’s death) resonates with today’s generation; our endnote upholds the undying spirit of courage and fearlessness, that the young Khudiram embodied,” says Prakriti Dutta.
The 70-minute-long act will see 35 participants, within the age group of 8 to 32 years, retelling Khudiram’s story and his role in the freedom struggle, through emotive expressions and gestures alone- without using any spoken words or props. The pantomime will be accompanied by classical Dhrupad-based music.
“We have a mixed group of actors- some are very senior, while others have recently joined us, and are quite new to the art form. Some members of the team are thalassemia patients, while the lead role has been essayed by Arindam Barman, an actor who is congenitally deaf and speech-impaired. Despite his disabilities, Arindam is a successful actor now,” says Prakriti Dutta, who also conducts music therapy for students afflicted with thalassemia.
Talking about the art form, Prakiti informs, "A mime performance usually rests on the power of acting. An actor’s biggest strength- is his agility, his body language, and his hand gestures, with which he creates an illusion. Since one doesn't use language- one has to elaborate the facial expressions- which is not so subtle, as in a regular play. That is precisely the reason why the face is painted in characteristic white."
"Another important aspect of the art form is the silence- because when you are emoting without words- the message comes across more strongly and has a greater impact," she informs.
Prakriti tells us that schools today are actively participating in the propagation of mime as an art form. It has been recognised by the central government too, for grants and fellowships. "But I would want more popularity for the art form, which can be adopted widely into the schools and colleges- as a very powerful tool for conveying a message on social issues," she adds.
"We are also planning a mime festival in December this year, and currently organising training programmes in other art forms, such as the Chhau dance, Kalaripayattu and Thangta, so that the actors can pick up a diverse range of skills, which will help them perform better," she signs off.
At Minerva Theatre. August 10, 6:30 pm