August 3, 2010 (CalcuttaTube): “Tritiyo Onkoi Otoeb” is a Bengali play with legendary actor Soumitra Chattopadhyay, Dwijen Banerjee, Poulami Basu in the cast. Read the Calcutta Tube’s review of “Tritiyo Onko Otoeb” written and directed by Soumitra Chatterjee, unfolding the thespian’s journey through life.
So far, my idea of autobiography was limited to literary creations of famous personalities and though I had heard that Soumitra’s “Tritiyo Onko Otoeb” was a biographical approach, I never dreamt this to cross beyond the traditional style of portraying an artist’s life through a complete story, which being enacted by a whole team generally centred the artist in the leading role. But just a few minutes into “Tritiyo Onko Otoeb”, I was shoved out of that impression when I realized that the complete cast of three members jointly portrays the same person and for the remaining one hour or so, the show revealed drama transgressing its regular definition and presenting the finest display of human emotions that remained both composed and supremely professional.
Beginning the main theme with a crisp introduction accounting his inability to pen down an autobiography, Soumitra starts recounting events from his younger days that educated him with the various lessons of life – be it his brother’s rationale observing his reckless driving or his father’s rebuke making him wise in the values of life. The audience could sense the artist’s love and respect for the elders even as he recalls the severe punishments of his grandpa when his mother failed to control him.
Not strictly chronological in the earlier part, the play follows the passionate Soumitra as he reminisces the exciting experience with the soldiers of Azad Hind Fauj who were detained by the British troops and soon follows it up with the patriotic fervour that incited him along with his brother and friends to char down the Union Jack at school that nearly caused his expulsion. The Great Famine of Bengal and the awful Direct Action Day that greatly agitated his soul is also recited as each of the incidents revealed humans in their most primal form.
The mood swings to a lighter note as the artist recollects the amusing episode when his prospective brother-in-law managed to persuade him to convince his parents for their consent in their daughter’s marriage. The mood remains the same and the tone continues its graceful form as we peek into the early years of his married life with the narrator shying away, very aptly, from the more personal details – an example of refinement that is fast losing in the work of art.
Those who speak of Satyajit and Soumitra in the same breath will expect entertaining accounts of the director and the actor pertaining to cinema but will find it both surprising and very much intelligent when the actor exemplifies the versatility of the former in recounting the days when Ray tutored him in the details of Western Classical.
He speaks about his major health deteriorations that started with a heart seizure and finally culminated in the dreaded cancer of the prostate but the way he delivers these informations once again celebrates the true artist in him and endorses his self assertion of his control over acting. Throughout the entire narration he never missed an opportunity to acknowledge the support that he got from his family and friends which not only assisted in the making of the artist that he is but also helped alleviate the anxiety chiefly during the early days of his health failures. This seemed to infuse in him the confidence to go along with the laws of nature with a brave face and look forward to creativity in the years to come.
Though Soumitra Chatterjee commands the greater part of the attention but Dwijen Bandyopadhyay is outstanding in his own right and Poulami Basu provides the much needed female support that was so necessary for the entirety of the presentation.
As to the backstage support Badal Das‘s video projection, in synch with the acts, deserves special mention as do his lighting arrangements that was complimented well enough with Bilu Dutta‘s concise set construction and Suchismita Dasgupta‘s fitting costume design.
Dishari Chakaraborty‘s music and Baitalik Shilpi Gosthi‘s songs conducted by Swapan Shom and Debarati Shom were well orchestrated that coordinated suitably with Swapan Banerjee‘s sound mixing.
Thus the theatre lovers are promised a new and charming approach to creativity as “Tritiyo Onko Otoeb” portrays Soumitra Chattopadhyay‘s journey from Krishna Nagar to Golf Green, from being someone very ordinary to an architect of the Bengali artworld.