Untold stories of biranganas depictedCultural Correspondent
Birangana: Brave Women touched the audiences with the heart-wrenching story of the suffering of the biranganas in theatre.
Staged by London-based troupe Komola Collective at the Liberation War Museum on Thursday, the play revealed the story of a birangana (war heroine), women who were tortured by Pakistani invading army during the war of independence in 1971.
Directed by Filiz Ozcan and scripted by Samina Lutfa, the English play was based on the concept and research by Leesa Gazi, who is also the central performer. The play is an outcome of a research on 21 biranganas conducted by Komola Collective, a troupe dedicated to tell the untold stories of female sufferers in war.
The play began with a video projection of a real birangana narrating her happy childhood days. An animation depicting the legend of princess Komola, who was sacrificed by the king for water in the drought affected kingdom, was projected on the white screen on stage. Through the animation, the unfortunate reality that women have always been sacrificed in the struggles of men in all eras was revealed.
The performer enacting the role of a birangana narrated in English how the army abducted the Bengali women and enslaved them in their camps and the trauma she has endured. The character reminisces the good old times she had spent with her grandmother but the next moment she is panic-stricken as she recollects the footsteps of a Pakistani soldier, played by Forhad Chowdhury Khokhon. The viewers could really feel a connection with the character birangana, as the actor managed to realistically portray the character on stage.
In the role of the birongana, Leesa Gazi captivated the audience through her powerful rendering of dialogues and her movement across the stage.
Filiz Ozcan, who successfully portrayed the stories of biranganas despite her being a foreigner, shared with New Age, ‘It is an honour for me to work on this project on brave women.The most difficult part of direction was how to reflect the sacrifices and sufferings of women in a theatrical play,’ added Ozcan.
‘It was an emotional task to work on biranganas,’ Luthfa revealed to New Age. She also informed that the troupe is constantly developing the play, which is a work in progress and will be staged in the UK in November of this year.
Invited Biranganas from Sirajgang attended the play. ‘I am really happy that finally our stories are being told and shared by people of this troupe,’ said Hasina, a birangana from Kazipara, Sirajgong.
A huge audience turned out for the play. ‘The performance and direction of the play are marvelous,’ observed Latif Hossain, a private service holder who is also a regular theater goer.
Birnagana: Brave Women will also be staged at the EMK Centre in old Dhanmandi 27 today.
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