Idealism, erudite discourses and literature of permanence - if that's what you
expected from the Bengalis, you might have as well been thinking of some other
folks. Contrary to expectations, the Bengali artistes did not carry their trademark
utopian slogans, song and dance, but came up with their native folk arts - dialogue,
percussion, song and dance that were earlier modes of news service.
Later, Nandan Misra, one of the members from the troupe, made it further lucid by singing Ghazal like songs. The gist of it was clear - narrative art should not indulge in stories of yesteryear kings and queens, but should bring to the fore contemporary issues. No room for illusions here! There was variety, too. Bharatanatyam followed, with a group performing a theme-based choreography on environment and the various stages Nature in ruins.
Most of the artistes were from Shantineketan. Kalidas, a member of Praja Natya Kala Mandali, and CITU secretary, Jeevan Das, elaborated upon the message by their brief talk on the issues of real entertainment, patriotism and awareness among the working class and so on. Interestingly, there was this elderly gentleman (over 75 years old), Vallan Narasimha Rao, one of the first founder members of Praja Natya Kala Mandali over 50 years ago, who then shocked the society with a bold perspective, ending up with most of the productions getting banned! This elderly artiste, in a nostalgic manner, sang few songs (which were also banned during the time) from the play "Maa Boomi".
SHOT-2000 will conclude today with more such productions of awareness.