Shekhar Samaddar presents Rabindranath Tagore’s play GORA

Director Shekhar Samaddar
Shekhar Samaddar

Dec 13, 2010 (CalcuttaTube): Bengali theatre group ‘Abhaash’ will stage Rabindranath Tagore’s play ‘Gora’, at the Madhusudan Mancha on 21st Dec, 2010. Directed by Shekhar Sammaddar, the play has Dulal Lahiri, Alokananda Ray, Suchita Roychowdhury, Mili Samaddar, Satya Bhaduri, Tanmoy De, and the director himself in important roles while Debshankar Haldar plays Gora.

Director Shekhar Samaddar shares his thoughts on the epic novel, preparations for the play, its implementations, music and more.

“’Abhaash’ started seven years back with Tagore’s ‘Char Adhyay’, which was a daring venture. Satya Bhaduri and I were in ‘Bahuroopi’. We are acquainted with Shambhu Mitra’s theater practice. Yet we have dared to do the play. But we could only do 25 plays, one of which was staged at the National Theater in Bangladesh. Now, we are once again proud to stage another of Tagore’s works.

“I thank Mr. Soumitra Mitra for motivating me into doing this play. Dulal Lahiri and Suchita Ray Chowdhury  encouraged me, too. Alakananda Ray, Debshankar Haldar and Satya Bhaduri gave me the right support,” says the director.

Debjit Ray has scored music and ‘Gora’ while Srabani Sen, Trishit Chowdhury, Dulal Lahiri have sung the songs.

Samaddar, also a professor of Bengali literature, says that there is always a debate on uses of Tagore songs in a Tagore play. “Satyajit Ray too used a lot of Rabindra Sangeet in his films based on Tagore’s creations. When I work on Tagore’s plays, I always feel good about using the poet’s own compositions to enhance the drama.”

Discussing about the play and its subject, the versatile actor-director-academician explains, “The way I understand Tagore… he portrayed how a social issue can become institutional and from there how the individual comes out. For example, Raghupati in ‘Bisarjan’ and Raja in ‘Rakta Karabi’. They unleash at some point, which is important. Same with ‘Gora’ tha deals with the orthodoxies of Hindu and Brahma societies. But none of them is ultimate. Though Kolkata was not Tagore’s favorite place, still he chose the city as the backdrop of the play as it would serve a perfect setting for all those differences. Gora was more theoretical and emotional in his beliefs. But that changed once Gora came across something greater and started knowing his country. This can be identified with Rabindranath’s own journey of which we read in many ‘Galpa Guchhha’ stories.

“Theories that evolve from different counters, conflicts between country and religion basically affect both Gora and Paresh babu as individuals.”

Casting of ‘Gora’ was a big challenge because of Rabindranath’s vivid description of Gora. And according to other members of the ‘Gora’ team, Shekhar Samaddar has been very brave to chose Debshankar Halder in the name role.

“If Tripti Mitra can do Nandini in ‘RaktaKarabi’, and if we remember her for many more years to come, then why cannot Debshakar be Gora? Tagore himself believed more in a person’s inner being than the outer, though he vividly described his characters. So the thing is the revelation of Gora from the inside. Dulal Lahiri as Paresh babu is awesome. Both he and Gora somewhere meet. The self seeking of a person is the point here,” says Samaddar.

Poet Sankha Ghosh has been the adviser of the play while the set concept is by Bibhash Chakrabarty.

The play has recently been staged at the Star Theatre on 4th Dec, 2010 and got good responses.

-Shrabanti Basu

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