Patol Babu Filmstar-Bengali Drama by Satyajit Ray
Patol Babu Filmstar is a Bengali drama written by legendary Satyajit Ray now playing in Kolkata presented by “Purba Paschim”, directed by Mr. Ramaprasad Banik. Check out the exclusive CT review of the latest Calcutta Drama by Anirban De from Kolkata.
Never before did I feel any type of tension, rather anxiety, which I felt during the premiere show of the play “Patol Babu Filmstar” by Purba-Pashchim based on the short story of the same name penned by the genius of Satyajit Roy. The cause will be obvious to the readers of the story but for those who haven’t, let me tell you that the entire show depended critically upon a single monologue that lasts only for a fraction of a second. Thus a drama where no re-take is possible itself poses a serious challenge to the actors and surely the opening night is always a prestige issue for the whole crew. For that particular scene everything, including the timing, expressions, tone of the actor have to be precisely synchronized and thus justifies the tension of the innumerable fans of the great writer as well as that of the director and the scriptwriter Mr. Ramaprasad Banik. Thus my anxiety was continuously mounting till that particular scene came and when that intense moment was finally over I just couldn’t help but applaud with the rest of the audience at the superb performance of Parthasarathi Dey who just excelled in his act and undoubtedly won the admiration of the full house.
Keeping the original plot unchanged, Mr. Banik has made a classic metamorphosis of the chronicle and thus presented 100 min of pure delight for the beholders. Patol Babu, a one-time theatre actor, now in his fifties, is struggling without a regular job and family responsibilities. But this never dampened his love of the theatre and thus we find him spending hours in the local club teaching budding performers the art of stage acting. In this, he is encouraged by his widowed mother-in-law, Nivanani Devi and Ava, his wife gave her silent support as well. Also his neighbour Nishikanta understood the artist in Patol Babu and thus offered brotherly helps in times of need. That Patol Babu had a warm heart was also apparent from Gouri, their maid who looked upon him not as her master but as her father. Life was continuing its monotonicity for Patol Babu till came a welcome twist when quite by chance he got an offer to act in a Bengali movie scene. He seemed to float in the seventh heaven till he realized that his dialogue in the scene was only an exclamation ‘Ah!’. The entire world, all his high hopes seemed to collapse and he was on the verge of quitting when all of a sudden realization dawned upon him in the form of the preaching of his mentor, Gagan Pakrashi who used to say that each word in a dialogue is to be considered as a fruit in the tree that is not only to be properly picked up but also to be relished in the perfect way so that the audience may correctly feel the taste of the juice. Thus began his probe on the different ways this same word can be uttered and in this he was astonished to find that not one but hundreds of emotions could be conveyed by this same little remark. Then came that memorable scene and as I have already told you it was done exquisitely.
[ReviewAZON asin="1860649653" display="inlinepost"]The performance on the whole was spellbinding with special credits going to Parthasarathi Dey, Chanda Chattopadhyay and Ellora Rudra while the others consisting of Soumitra Mitra, Swarnali Ghosh, Tarun Paul, Moloy Saha, Sanjoy Biswas, Rabin Chakaraborty, Manas Jana, Juthika Das, Dibyendu Naskar, Biswarup Ghosh Dastidar, Tarun Maji, Chandranath Roy, Ashim Mukhopadhyay, Arup Ratan Ganguly, Sanjib Chatterjee, Pradip Hait, Dhruba Chakraborty, Abhijit Roy and Prabir Ghosh did their bit in style. In one of the scenes, Uttam Kumar’s voice was smartly used and Bilu Dutta’s set design was perfect throughout. Note must also be made of the ingenious direction that not only perfected the story but paid fitting tributes to several of the silver screen actors of past without going through any unnecessary act. Though the light was ordinary and the background score soberly composed but the costume design disappointed me especially for the female actors where there was no contrast apparent in the dresses of the housewife and the maids. Also the age gap between Patol Babu and his wife seemed unrealistically high. Barring these, the play will surely win the heart of many and awaits warm accolades from lovers of stage acting.
Bangla Natok Review by Anirban De, CT Reporter, KOLKATA