After having explored streets, stages and intimate spaces of India for over nine years of Urotaar’s existence, the group wanted to experiment the idea of Cafe theatre.
Kolkata: Sukumar Ray is a household name in almost every Bengali family and one can hardly find a person who doesn’t know verses from either Abol Tabol, Pagla Dashu, Ha Ja Ba Ra La or any of Ray’s works. However, his immortal works may soon disappear from adda sessions or people may stop reciting his verses every now and then because the young generation is busy in the rat race called life and there’s no blaming them.
But to keep Ray alive, Urotaar, a Kolkata-based theatre group, has come up with a unique way to package iconic characters sketched by Sukumar Ray to give them a new perspective. The group’s first target under the initiative was to convert Ray’s famous character Pagla Dashu, revolving around whom is Urotaar’s latest production Amader Pagla Dashu.
Talking to thetheorist.in, the group’s director and writer Moupiya Banerjee says, “We conceptualised the project to encourage the habit of reading books that portray the rich Bengali literature. We also wanted to revive the sentiments related to Sukumar Ray and our childhood.”
On why Pagla Dashu, Banerjee says, “Pagla Dashu is an iconic creation of Sukumar Ray – a character who is all about being happy, being mad and not missing out on a single chance to have fun without causing any serious damage to anybody. In today’s world, there is extreme pressure and competition in all aspects of life. We are so stuck worrying about our careers and the unpredictable future that we forget to have fun and relax. Pagla Dashu is that hidden persona within us who wants life to be full of colours and surprises.”
Urotaar claims to have staged over 600 performances across India and has to its credit two short films, 33 exhibitions and cultural exchanges, motivational theatre workshops for more than 10 organisations and art and culture-related promotions. However, after having explored streets, stages and intimate spaces of India for over nine years of Urotaar’s existence, the group wanted to experiment the idea of Café theatre.
“Thus, we came up with Amader Pagla Dashu, a series of space theatre comprising of theatrical narratives, music, dance and recitation based on the works of Sukumar Ray,” says Banerjee.
She adds, “The production is designed in a way which demands one to one conversation with the audience and our target group is the youth. Therefore, after working with various forms of theatre, we wanted to experiment with this form as well. This production is basically a shout out to everyone – keep the madness alive and laugh your heart out.”