Koli-Kotha Theatre group set to stage Tagore’s timeless classic, Rakta Karabi
The socio-political themes of the play are still relevant today.
THE KOLI-KOTHA theatre group is about to re-launch another version of their most recent play, Rakta Karabi, later this month. The play is based on an authentic transcript of Tagore’s text but has slight variations in terms of characterisation and music.
“Rakta Karabi has been portrayed by different people at different points of time. But it has remained relevant till date. Today, we are going through many social and political turmoils, and we can see how religion and power can mould people against their better judgement,” explains Spandan Mukherjee, the director. “We somehow don’t know who makes the decisions for us, and we believe anything we get to hear about a person in power. Similarly, nobody in this play can see the king, except for Nandini,” he adds.
The play is essentially the story of how people who get confined economically can eventually come out of their state of servitude through knowledge and self-confidence. Nandini and Ranjan are the two main characters, where Nandini symbolises progress and development, and Ranjan symbolises independence. Sardar, on the other hand, does everything as per his own wish, constantly claiming the benefit of the king’s orders, while the people remain ignorant of who the real king is, and what he desires.
“We see people going abroad to pursue economically viable options, but they get trapped instead, with their visas confiscated. The dream of financial security lasts only till they continue to do a job,” he elaborates.
“I found a lot of references to other works like Hirak Rajar Deshe and Waiting for Godot in the play. For example, the king doesn’t want people to become educated, or use their brains. In another instance, encouraged by Nandini, people wait for Ranjan, little knowing that he is among them all the while, in the form of Bisu Pagol,” explains the director.
The play will feature many of Tagore’s songs including Bhenge mor ghorer chaabi, Oi megh kore bujhi gogone, sung by the character of Bisu Pagol, along with recordings of the popular film tracks like Ek je chilo raja (from Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne), Poush toder daak diyeche and Neel digante. The light design of the play, done by Sadhan Parui, creates a glowing, warm shade of red, bordering on violet, with the help of LED lights, to play on the colour theme of the flower, rakta karabi.
Anisha Chatterjee plays Nandini, Sudip Mukherjee plays Raja, Bhaskar Mukherjee plays Bisu Pagol, Soumya Jana plays Odhyapok, and Spandan Mukherjee plays Sardar.
The music has been arranged by Sauvanik Dutta, the costumes have been designed by Ishani Bhattacharya, and the sets were designed by Bihu Mukherjee, with assistance from Madan Halder.
At Tapan Theatre. May 26, 6.45 pm