Arna Mukhopadhyay talks about directing his new play, Nakshatra Shikar, after 4 years
Nakshatra Shikar is a play by Utpal Dutt that deals with politics, powerplay, and the distortion of democracy by those in power
It's after almost 4 years thespian and actor Arna Mukhopadhyay is back directing a play. Theatre aficionados will witness him today both on stage and behind it, directing one of playwright-actor Utpal Dutt's politically charged plays, Nakshatra Shikar. We get hold of the talented young Arna on the sidelines of rigorous rehearsals to know more about the same.
You are back with a new play. Tell us all about it.
Yes, I am back directing a play after 4 years and I am very excited and happy about the same. Before the coronavirus pandemic ensued, I had directed Mahabharata and Shey Mayakanon, a period piece centring around the entry of women into Bengali theatre about 150 years back.
Nakshatra Shikar is a play by Utpal Dutt and all his stories have a heritage value. This is one of his foremost plays that deals with politics, powerplay, and the distortion of democracy by those in power. It is a history-backed story that reflects on his own times and is a commentary against power dynamics.
We are living during politically charged and dangerous times, and are almost on the precipice of extinction. Our civilisation is headed towards total destruction. Though a few incidents might seem to be sporadic and unconnected, they actually all lead to very dark times. The whole play is around dictatorial tendencies, muscle-flexing and anti-democratic space. We are placing it in another era, namely the Gupta era, but the context remains very topical.
It's set during the times of King Samudragupta and a discovery during his times. How that creates a turmoil and tense situation and how for their own self-interests, those in power want to preserve superstition and blind religion. The play shows the complexities of relationships and several layers have been explored.
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How differently will you stage the play?
The scope is much bigger this time on the stage in terms of the lights and sets. After 4 years I am really enjoying the process of building the play step by step.
What are your other films and web projects?
I will soon direct a film direction and there are three films and two web series of mine that are going to be released. And definitely, my first love, theatre will also see some new things.
Nakshatra Shikar will be staged this evening at the Academy of Fine Arts.