Dec 27, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): In the folk festival organized by Kasba Arghyo as reported earlier in Calcutta Tube, two more attractive performances of different kind are done by The Chena Adhuli of Kolkata and The Maruthi Marma Chikilsa & Kalari Sangham of Mudavanmukal, Trivandrum, Kerala. The first one performed a play named Bhul Rasta in a third theatre form promulgated by the Great Badal Sircar. The Keralian team performed Traditional Marshal Art which they called Kalarippayattu. This they claim as medical treatments and massages if utilized properly. We shall first talk about Bhul Rasta and then about Kalarippayattu. About cast and credit of Bhul Rasta we are simply copying the producer Chena Adhuli, since they have not mentioned the name of any individual as the director of the play.
Story Teller 1: Lopamudra Guha Neogi,
Story Teller 2:Rajat Kumar Das;
Playwright: BADAL SIRCAR;
Direction & Production: CHENA ADHULI
The play is based on folk tale which tales about a prince of seven pairs of queens. Once the chief queen, the mother of the prince was suffering from a life killing disease, the curable medicine of which was available in the far distance place named Jambusthan. In order to save the life of mother the prince accompanied by sons of ministers and hundreds of soldiers went in quest of that medicine named Ambufal. On the way to the deep forest, suddenly the prince lost the proper way to reach the destination and got disassociated from his companions. In the dense forest the prince became lonely and got disheartened. There was no food no water. The prince forgot the disease and the medicine Ambufal as well. Spending seven days for searching the way for returning home, the prince came across with a woodcutter in the forest. The woodcutter offers him some food and water. He arranged a bed for his rest in his little cottage. And in course of time gradually the prince became the member of woodcutter family and started to stay there permanently. The woodcutter became his brother, the mother of the woodcutter became his mother, the birds the animals and the trees in the forest became his friends and finally the King and the palace got meaningless to the prince. Thus ‘the wrong way` turned the prince into a right man.
As we have told earlier, Bhul Rasta is performed in third theatre style with no makeup, no stage craft, no costume, no formal effect music, no special light effect. Even they are reluctant to use microphone system also. The performance have had three main features. The text, a different form of acting and the audience all around. Here Lopamudra and Rajat wearing jeans` trouser and top make this magical show where it becomes difficult to close the eye lids even for a moment. Lopamudra and Rajat simply narrate the story sometimes in Bengali sometimes in Hindi in the form of traditional `Kathakatha` as is used in Pandavani, Ramlila, Krishnalila etc. They do the job extremely well. I refrain myself from making any comment about the text, which I hope the reader has already understood, is very simple in one hand and deep rooted on the other.
Instead of talking too much about Kalarippayattu, it’s wise to produce their performance photographs which narrate everything. 43 years old Ajith Kumar. T is the key man of this team. Once he came all through to Kolkata to train Arghyo’s members as player of Marshall Art. The Maruthi Marma Chikilsa & Kalari Sangham is a school founded in 1957 by P. Thankappan Assan Guru in Mudavanmukal, Trivandrum Kerala, South India. Thankappan Assan, born in 1930, began to study the art of Kalarippayattu at the age of 10 from of three masters; his uncles Kuttiyappi Guru, Eliazer Guru and Devasahayam Guru. He also learnt from them Kalarippayattu’s, various medical treatments and massages. From 1968 he started performing all over India, showing the Traditional Marital Arts. His talents were brought to the outside world by BBC Team, who arrived in India to film the school. At present he is still practicing and teaching, although his first dedication is the medical aspect. His son Ajith Kumar now looks after the school. The Kalarippayattu is the traditional celebration of Kerala, and it is a powerful and electric travel inside the spectacular combats of this Traditional Martial Art, converted to skilful sequences of movement through wildness and softness of the body. They also do movements like animals. This performance includes all kind of unarmed combat with acrobatic movements, as well as the use of the traditional weapons (Body movements, fighting with 2 people-3 people with acrobatic, knife-2 people, 3 people, Stick – 2 people-3 people, sword and shield-2 and 3 people, Four sword – 2 people, Urumi (belt sword)- 2 people) and it finishes with an amazing dance with fire, just overtaking by the virtuous Kalarippayattu masters.
I know not whether we can call it a folk drama, possibly we cannot. But it could have been a life time achievement to watch Kalarippayattu. Please look at the photo graphs and enjoy.
– Pachu Ray