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By Arnab Mitra

Theatre is the mother of all forms of ‘performing arts’. It is one of the pristine forms of mass-communication. It acts as an apparel of the society and the actors inculcate the voice of the people through their act.

Yesterday, Rangopat produced their latest production ‘Dharmashok’, based on the life of the great emperor Ashoka. It imparts a message of non-violence at a time when the world was engulfed by war and sadism.

In an interaction with NewsGram, the director of the play, Dr. Tapanjati Das and veteran theatre member, Deb Sankar Halder talked about the veracity of theatre in this present society.

Arnab Mitra: Tell me about the condition of the theatre in the modern society.

Tapanjati Das: Theatre always has a certain kind of audience. According to me, people always prefer theatre over stupid serials and bogus commercial films.

Deb Sankar Halder: Serials and films are ‘dead’ forms of art. Theatre is a ‘live’ art, where the performer creates the environment at that moment; so that people can cherish the ripened fruit that is served at the moment.

Arnab Mitra: But there is a question of time. People say they hardly get time to watch plays…

Tapanjati Das: Time! Then, how do people get time to watch serials and movies?

Deb Sankar Halder: If you have the desire, there is a will. Mostly, it is the people who are not busy who always give the lame excuse of time.

AM: Recently, Kalindi Bratyojon organized the International theatre festival. Most of the plays talked about the war, violence and decay of the society…

Tapanjati Das: From Syria to Kashmir, and recently Manipur, there is turbulence. Theatre is the face of the society, that is why the new productions are based on this theme.

Deb Sankar Halder: Artists are a part of the society too, so they produce what they observe.

AM: But ‘Dharmashok’ gives the message of non-violence…

Tapanjati Das: We want to impart a message of ‘non-violence’ through the life of Ashoka. War brings destruction, but peace builds the society.

Deb Sankar Halder: The world has witnessed the brutality of the two world wars. It is time to stop the destruction and to build the society.

AM: Every election gives birth to a new government, but the problem of the society remains same…

Tapanjati Das: The society is not of government, but of people. People can make a change in the society, and the government can help us.

Deb Sankar Halder: A teacher can only instruct his students, he cannot do their part. There are huge campaigns on ‘Smoking kills’, ‘Don’t drink alcohol’, but people still smoke and drink. Don’t blame the government, better blame yourselves.

AM: Do you support Kejriwal’s demand for statehood?

Tapanjati Das: I do think the Central Government should give the opportunity to Kejriwal in running the Delhi Government. At the end of the day, government is of the people.

Deb Sankar Halder: I just request Kejriwal and Modi to not fight.

AM: Any new productions from Rangopat?

Tapanjati Das: We are working on a political play, and we hope to stage it in December.

AM (To Deb Sankar Halder): You are deemed as the new star of Bengali theatre after Ajitesh Bandopadhyay and Sambhu Mitra. What do you think?

Deb Sankar Halder: I don’t know. I love theatre, and I will keep performing till my last breath.


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