Ashanti Niketan is a Bengali play directed by Subal Khan with Salil Kumar De, Ahim Bhattacharya, Chinmayi Biswas, Sujata Ghosh, Prashanta Chakrabarty and others in the cast. Read the drama review at CalcuttaTube.
Shanti Ranjan Basak – Salil Kumar De
Bibek Biswas – Ahim Bhattacharya
Parulbala / Panchur Maa – Sujata Ghosh
Gobinda – Prasanta Chakrabarty
Dr. Nirapada – Anup Das
Dr. Umapada – Narayan Sur
Dr. Haripada – Samar Kundu
Doctors’ Assistant – Sourav Hajra
Nayeb Brajen – Samiran Gupta
Naren – Tapan Chakrabarty
Play – Debabrata Dasgupta
Lights – Bhanu Biswas
Stage – Narayan Sur
Sound – Felu Das
Director – Subal Khan
Make up – Tapan Chakrabarty
The comedy revolves around Shanti Ranjan Basak, a middle aged gentleman and his second wife Champakali, a mute lady and how Shanti Ranjan’s peaceful life turns into a perfect chaos once his pretty wife gains voice.
The drama starts with Shanti Ranjan, affluent yet stingy in nature, discussing business with manager Brajen. As Brajen leaves, comes in Shanti Ranjan’s lawyer Bibek Biswas who has been summoned by his client to make a new will in which Shanti Ranjan wishes to gift everything to his newly wedded wife. The play proceeds with two more characters Gobindo and Panchur Maa, housekeepers of the Basak household, and the audiences get a better view of Shanti Ranjan’s life and character.
Shanti Ranjan, happy to have young beautiful Champakali as his wife, is somewhat sad about her speech impairment. Champakali is mute, but not deaf, which is a somewhat rare case. So when Shanti Ranjan comes to hear of a miraculous medical team, he takes a chance. Come in three funny doctors Umapada, Nirapada, Haripada with their assistant who operate on Champakali and she gets back her voice!
The couple’s conjugal life takes a sharp turn from here. The peace and quiet of her husband’s life is at stake as Champakali now sings, hums and talks all the time. Shanti Ranjan considers of making her mum once again but his legal adviser forbids him from doing so. Having no other option left, the poor man now gets a miracle potion to turn into deaf.
The title of the drama is quite apt. Shanti Ranjan’s peaceful life turns into a total turmoil, and hence this title. There is yet another explanation. The mighty Shanti Ranjan, who bossed things around his place is no longer the dominating one at the end of the play. So Shanti Niketan turns into ‘A-Shanti Niketan’, when Shanti Ranjan rules no more.
In the first show of the play was staged at the Minerva theatre, the later half was more dynamic than the previous half as far as dialogues, direction were concerned. The play in the second half took up a good momentum, had better diversity and climax. Champakali’s affection towards her husband, her dramatic comical ways and speech that led to a perfect chaos were enjoyable.
The love story of Gobinda and Parulbala aka Panchur Maa that ran parallel in the second part of the play was sweet, humorous, with a few touches of grim reality here and there.
The characters Umapada, Haripada, Nirapada supposed to be humorous were a bit too loud.
Chinmayi Das as Champakali was strong esp. when the character started talking. She did not have much scope in the earlier portions of the play. Her sense of comedy is good and she put spontaneous passion for her character.
Salil Kumar De is all right, though kind of repetitive in portraying Shanti Ranjan Basak. A bit more variation in acting would probably make the role more attractive.
Sujata Ghosh as Panchur Maa, Prasanta Chanrabarty as Gobindo were very natural and believable in their roles. Even with limited scopes of acting in the first half of the play, they did quite good.
Ahim Bhattacharya as Bibek Biswas was good, dramatic and blended well with his character.
The character of Naren was probably nothing indispensible.
The stage set up was decent and moderate while make-up, costumes of most of the cast were done attentively. The docs’ uniforms could have been much better.
A-Shanti Niketan is a overall watchable play for this semi-professional theatre group New Age that has been practicing theatre intermittently since 1979.