Gora-Bengali Play by Sekhar Samaddar-A Look

Bengali play Gora
Sekhar Samaddar-Suchita Roychowdhury in Bengali play Gora

Dec 14, 2010 (CalcuttaTube): Theatre group ‘Abhaash’ will stage Rabindranath Tagore’s play ‘Gora’, at the Madhusudan Mancha on 21st Dec, 2010. The play is directed by Shekhar Sammaddar with Debshankar Halder, Dulal Lahiri, Alokananda Ray, Suchita Roychowdhury, Mili Samaddar, Satya Bhaduri, the director himself and others in the cast.

‘Gora’ speaks of ideological clashes between Hindus and Brahmas, and their orthodoxies. It is also a journey, self-discovery of an individual. Though written 100 years ago, ‘Gora’ is still relevant and deals with many contemporary issues of the present society.

Let’s take a look on what the cast and crew shares about ‘Gora’.

Versatile actor Dulal Lahiri, who plays Paresh babu in the play, said in a press conference recently, “’Gora’ is a daring venture. I was there from the very beginning. With each passing day our project became more mature. Everyone worked so hard. Most of the time, we, who are in front of the curtains get all the applause. But there is a big crew behind who remains unnoticed and I request the spectators to gave them a big clap.

“It was the script that mesmerized me. Director Shekhar Samaddar deserves all the kudos for fitting the huge play in a two-and-half hour script with his in-depth knowledge and research. The execution of the play had to be as good as the script itself. I leave for the viewers to judge our effort. We are satisfied with the opening show of ‘Gora’ at the Star Theatre. Star unfortunately does not have the basic amenities of a regular stage.”

Speaking about the relevance of ‘Gora’ in perspective of modern times, Lahiri said, “In ‘Gora’ we see conflicts of Hindu and Brahma societies. Those issues faded with time, but ‘Gora’ is still relevant. The novel talks about humanity and transcends over time. I feel proud to be a part of the play.”

Actress Alokananda Ray, cast as Barodasundari, said that staging ‘Gora’ was a difficult job for the director for the various reasons. “The novel ‘Gora’ was serially published for a long time and naturally had certain flaws. It was director who worked on the novel to give it proper shape, precise it, stabilize the characters for the play.”

On casting Debshankar Halder as Gora, Ray said, “Shekhar Samaddar took another challenging step by casting Debshankar Halder in the role of Gora. Halder may not have the looks of Gora as per Tagore’s description, but the director presents him so brilliantly that Halder becomes Gora in a few moments. The characterization of Gora was very important and difficult.”

“Others in the cast are great too. There is nothing new to say about Dulal Lahiri’s acting. The new faces, the young people of ‘Abhash’ have all worked so hard. I got very good acting from everyone, it surpassed my expectations.

“The scenes of the riot and the ‘Panchayet’ are exceptionally good team work. They are especially significant to me because Tagore did not describe them, there were only the germs. Shekhar babu used his dexterity to stage them. With the same proficiency, he transformed Tagore’s ‘Gora’, a much theoretical novel into an enjoyable play. I was not much sure about it in the very beginning, as the novel ‘Gora’ does not much ‘drama’. But after working, I am very much optimistic about it now,” says Alakananda.

Theater personality Satya Bhaduri, who will be seen in the role of Madhab Chatujje, urged everyone to see the play. The person behind the famous theatre magazine ‘SAS’ will be acting after 30 years in this play. Bhaduri said “Gora is an epic and it is very difficult to dramatize the components the novel deals with.  Different plays by Tagore have been staged repeatedly. But Gora has been staged only once before, as far as I know. I am glad to stand by ‘Abhaash’ in this project. It is for the viewers to judge the play.”

Music composer Debjit Ray has scored the music and Srabani Sen,Dulal Lahiri, Trishit Chowdhury have lent voices.

“All the credit for my music composition in the play goes to Shekhar da. I handled music according to the script he narrated to me. I have maintained a central theme all throughout, because I thought there is a pattern in the play. I have used a lot of sarod because its ‘gamak’, resonance, and depth went very well with the play and Gora’s character. I have also used flute, piano, and some western music. I am refrained from using esraaj that is more occasionally used with RabindraSangeet. All these have made the backdrop, the scene-changes more believable.  We have tried to bring in an indigenous flavor.

“Shekhar da himself chose the songs for the play. There are sequences like ‘Tomarei Koriyachhi Jiboner Dhrubotara’, ‘Charan Dhwani Shuni Taba Nath’. Srabani di sang the songs brilliantly and we all had very emotional musical moments. The kind of involvement we all shared was unbelievable,” says Debjit who has worked with a plethora of Tagore songs in ‘Sahityer Shera Somoy’, ‘Char Adhyay’, etc.

Suchita Roychowdhury playing Anandamayi said, “The female characters in Tagore’s literature always impress me.

“Dulal da’r Paresh babu ke dekhle pronam korte ichhhe kore, Alakananda Ray makes Baradasundari live on stage. There is nothing to be said about Debshankar. The script of ‘Gora’ is revolutionary.”

Poet Sankha Ghosh has advised for the play and the set concept is by theatre maestro Bibhash Chakrabarty. Many young faces have worked in the play.

The play will again be staged at the Academy of Fine Arts on 6th Jan, 2011 and at the Sarat Sadan, Howrah on 11th Jan, 2011.

Backstage Crew:

Advice – Sankha Ghosh

Set Concepts – Bibhas Chakrabarty

Set Designing – Soumik Piyali

Set Making – Madan Tinku

Music – Debjit Ray

Voice – Srabani Sen , Trishit Chowdhury, Dulal Lahiri

Light – Badal Das

Make-Up – Bidhatrideb Sarkar, Md. Babu

Wigs – Jaygir Ali

Costumes – Shankar Jana

Production-in charge – Prabir De

-Shrabanti Basu

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