By Arnab Mitra
Kolkata: Transgender artists from West Midnapore’s ‘Natyamani’ theatre group staged a Bengali play– ‘Ram Sitar Pala’ on the third day of the West Bengal Theatre Festival held at Rabindra Sadan from December 5-12.
Haripada Gorai, who played Ram, said that his village Palasbati was home to eight transgender people.
“We face all kinds of discrimination throughout the year… but we didn’t let it stop us from fulfilling our dream. This is the first time that we have got a chance to perform in Kolkata. It feels amazing to see so much appreciation from the audience,” he said.
Natyamani, formed in 2014, faced rigorous opposition from the District administration as well as the local people, on grounds of them being transgender. As a result, repeated attempts throughout the year to stage their play went futile.
Pushpa Kuhali, the founding member of the group said, “We decided to form the theatre group to protest against the constant inhumane torture we faced. But, after we started our rehearsals, villagers burnt our rehearsal place and we did not get any help from the administration.”
Kuhali extended heartiest thanks to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her initiative in giving Natyamani this stage.
“The society needs to change its attitude and respect every human being. Each person has the power to contribute towards building a good society and overall, a good country,” said Dr A K Ganguly, who was part of the audience.
The next show of ‘Ram-Sitar Pala’ will be staged in Behrampore.