Curtain raiser: Week-long India International Mime Festival opens on March 24 in Kolkata
Indian Mime Theatre, an institution which was founded by pantomime artiste, Niranjan Goswami in 1976, to train skilled artistes in the Indian form of mime, based on Natyashastra, is organising a week-long India International Mime Festival 2019, beginning March 24. The 11th edition of the festival will see artistes from different parts of India and countries like Sri Lanka, Mexico, Japan, and Turkey, come together and perform their own unique styles of the art form.
“We have been organising this festival since 1984 to propagate the art and provide a platform to budding artists from West Bengal and started organising the National Mime Festival from 1998 to bring together mime groups and artistes from different parts of India under one umbrella. Back then we wanted the different groups to interact and exchange ideas; an initiative which was received with huge success,” informs Niranjan Goswami, director of Indian Mime Theatre.
Each day, starting from Mach 24 to March 30, there will be workshops conducted by the artistes during the day-time for students and open-air theatre performances in the evening. “This time we aim to take the Bhartiya Mukabhinaya (Indian Mime), which is different from European Mime, to the world and bring the world mime to India, to move a step further,” he adds.
The festival will see individual artistes and groups like Mime Kakool from Mexico perform Return To Home, Minangka Desa from Assam perform Minagka’s First love, Sister Hiromi from Japan perform Magical Wonderful Life, Selen Lun from Turkey perform Growing Pain of an old Athlete, Mime Nemo from Germany perform The gift of Mime Art and Cylon Physical Theatre from Sri Lanka performing With Nothing.
Closer home, there will be six teams from West Bengal, namely, Soma Mime Theatre which will perform Udaan, Japaiguri Sristi Mime Theatre will perform Kaalmrigaya, Imon Mime Theatre will perform Krishok Andolan, along with two performances by Indian Mime Theatre, the host group itself, one is called Chorer Opor Batpori and Clowning. A few groups from Bangladesh, Nepal, Bihar, and Rajasthan, including Manipur like The Mummers, Pantomime Movement, Theatre Sandiapana, Mandala Theatre, Akriti Rang Sansthan and Vilash Janve, will also come with their own interpretation of the oldest art form.
It is not surprising to see, that there are more participants from the eastern part of the country, compared to the others. “Mime is common among those who have been pursuing performing arts, as it is a no-verbal communication and uses gestures, movement, and expressions. Normal human gestures, like biting of lips or the curve of an eyebrow can communicate a lot- all of which is an extension of mime,” suggests Goswami.
So what is the significance of the art form in day-to-day life, which became popular in India post the 60s, when Marcel Marceau brought the trend to India?- we asked, “Training in Mime makes one stronger in silent communication and better at expressing oneself in a multilingual country like India. Mime as an art form that does not require big props and hence becomes a language in itself.”
India International Mime Festival premieres at EZCC, on March 24 at 6:30 pm