Helmet-Bengali Drama Review

A Poster of the Bengali play HelmetOct 1, 2010 (CalcuttaTube): Helmet is a Bengali drama penned by Rajat Ghosh, directed by Anish Ghosh with Partha Gupta, Achintya Dutta, Santa Mukherjee, Anish Ghosh and others in the cast. Read the Bengali drama review at CalcuttaTube.

Shohan presents the Bengali play ‘Helmet, a satire with a message, challenging the contradictions that the society is ever so blind about. With blind faith to our duties when societal causes are compromised the crime might go unpunished but can the soul rest in peace – at least of the ‘less dutiful’ ones? When fanatical care for a bird screens off the basic care for an expectant mother, we can only silently contemplate on the definition of humanity that we have marred by our own follies.

Bengali play Helmet- A posterThe narrative begins with the loss of the official helmet of a traffic constable Netai. For this, the O.C., though fond of him, does not hesitate to suspend him but soon withholds the orders when an emergency arrives in the forms of Central Animal Conservation Officer, Ms. Kar and his associate Mr. Mitra. Their primary concern seems to be an expectant crow who had constructed a nest and hatched eggs therein right at the top of the traffic post of which Netai was the constable-on-duty. Anxious on the welfare of the crow and its upcoming progenies, Ms. Kar forces the O.C. to cordon off traffic in the area and details on the procedures to be followed from there on that includes a temporary posting of a homeopath for the bird’s care. Also the O.C. is advised to keep in touch with the zoo and a vet in case of any crisis. As Netai, on the persuasion of the O.C. carries on with the duties, a more than slight complication is felt in the form of the homeless Bhuban and his family who, at that point, had settled on a nearby footpath. As Netai orders them off the area, he learns that their pregnant daughter has been residing with them and she is also on the brink of delivering. As Netai and the O.C., apparently representing the corrupted class, tries hard to avoid eviction of these hapless victims, the seemingly dutiful members of the same society, Ms. Kar and Mr. Mitra seems bent on throwing them off for the sake of the avian newborns. The obligations to office seem to precede humane duties and surprisingly the kindly souls are compelled, as well, to follow the chain of official commands rather than sympathize with the sufferers. The drama ends on a poignant note that once again poses the question – is humanity being forgotten in the wake of professionalism?

About the presentation it would be a mistake to comment anything but for the fact that a near full house on the 100th presentation not only marks a landmark but also points to the brilliant consistence that the group has maintained. Penned by Rajat Ghosh and directed by Anish Ghosh, the concept envelops its message in a classic mask of comedy that is both entertaining and moving. Runa Bandyopadhyay’s costume design was both impeccable and realistic as was the make-up by Panchanan Manna and Amit Dey. Ashok Pramanik’s light design and Gautam Ghosh’s music modulated well with the ambience that harmonized agreeably with the set design of Sanchayan Ghosh.

In the arena of acting, two persons deserve special mention for their outstanding showmanship. The first and foremost is definitely Partha Gupta as the lovably sloppy O.C. with the correct sense of humour and mischief blended together who proves to be the backbone of the entire presentation. The second is definitely Achintya Dutta as the decrepit homoeopath who gives relief a brand new definition as this is perhaps the first time that comical instalments in an already comic presentation proves to be a refreshing relief that never compromises the broader comedy yet proves to be entertainment of a superior quality. Apart from these two, Santa Mukherjee carries on the part of the corrupt yet humane Netai with perfection and Anish Ghosh himself is also outstanding with the role of Bhuban – the hapless and most ill-fated member of the society. Raghunath Sarkar (Yadav) and Aloke Gupta (Madhu) fits well in their respective roles of constables on duty, Doly Deb (Netya) unfolds the motherly heart with excellence and there could not be a better choice than Sourav Dutta as the priest. Runa Bandyopadhyay’s portrayal of the annoyingly dutiful Ms. Kar and Rajarshi Bagchi’s role of her obsequious follower Mr. Mitra would have been perfect but for a bit overacting on the part of the former and slight slips on the part of the other.

-Anirban De

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