Atul Satya Koushik’s Ballygunge 1990 premieres at GD Birla Sabhagar, Kolkata this week
ATUL Satya Koushik, founder-director of The Film and Theatre Society, will be staging his new production, Ballygunge 1990 as a part of the Sabhagar Theatre Festival, in Kolkata this weekend. Koushik, who is known for his opulent sets and big productions starring popular actors, has depicted a love story set in Kolkata during the 1990s and has included suspense-thriller elements in the narrative.
The play has been co-produced by the Land of Culture, and the idea behind the plot was conceptualised by Koushik. “I have always tried to challenge myself and my team with new ideas. I observed that suspense, thrillers, and mysteries have not been explored much in regional theatre. So, I wanted to attempt something in that genre,” shares Koushik. “The most challenging part was to write a watertight script, and keep the audience guessing,” he adds.
Kartik, played by Annup Sonii, is an aspiring filmmaker, who wants to make it big in Mumbai, while Vasuki, played by Nishtha Paliwal Tomar, values love over everything else and plans to settle down with Kartik someday. But she is shocked by Kartik’s decision to leave the city, ending their ten-year-long relationship. When they meet again in Kolkata, after years, Kartik finds the same love in Vasuki’s eyes, though she is married now to Binoy Das, a renowned artiste. Vasuki, on the other hand, finds the same detachment and hostility in Kartik’s nature. But everything between them changes when Kartik responds to Vasuki’s invitation and visits her house in Ballygunge, on the eve of Durga Puja.
The play is set in an era of no smartphones. “The basic essence of my story is about a relationship that suffers because of a communication gap, when life existed in a vacuum, without any immediate communication,” reveals Koushik.
What was it that inspired him to choose Kolkata as the backdrop of his play, that too during Puja? “I come here very often for shows, and I have seen the lanes and bylanes of the city. I always wanted to write a play taking into account the culture, and the vibes of the city. Also, we wanted the play to be around some celebration, hence Durga Puja, the biggest celebration in the city,” he explains.
The 85-minute play will have also have some famous ghazals like Mujhse Pehli is Mohabbat by Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Abbas Tabish. The music has been composed by Rajesh Das and the songs have been sung by Latika Jain, while the sets and lights have been designed by Koushik himself, with Tarung Dang executing the light operations, and the costumes designed by Sonam Kanotra.
Ballygunge 1990 will premiere at GD Birla Sabhaghar on March 23 at 6.30 pm.