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Chhayanut’s experimentation on Chitrangada earns praise

Cultural Correspondent

A scene from Chitrangada. — New Age photoA scene from Chitrangada. — New Age photo

It was a successful experimentation on a very popular Tagore’s dance drama. Director of the production Sharmila Bandopadhyay added some new elements to the Tagore classical Chitranganda, which narrates the myth of a Manipuri princess and Arjun as mentioned in the Hindu epic the Mahabharata.
Sharmila added a prologue and an epilogue to the original dance drama and visualised those through spectacular recitals.   
She has also included an imaginary encounter of the ugly Chitragangada, played by Sudeshna Swayamprabha, with the fair Chitragangada, played by Arna Kamolika, to articulate the message of the popular dance drama that upholds the inner beauty of soul than the physical beauty.  
Chhayanaut premiered the experimental production of Chitrangada on Friday in presence of a houseful audience at the Chhayanaut auditorium in Dhanmondi.
The show begins with the prologue where the titular character introduces herself to the audience as a Manipuri princess uttering ‘Ami Chitrangada Manipurer Rajkanya’ played by Sudeshna Swayamprabha.
Subsequently, the drama starts visualisation of Arjun’s visit to the Manipuri land as mentioned in the epic. To establish Arjun, played by Abul Hasan Tapan, as a great warrior, the director has introduced the character showing his vigour through the practice of sword combat with his companions.
The audience also enjoyed the visualsation of the other sequences such as Arjun’s meeting with the Manipuri princess, Chitrangada’s fascination for the warrior, the pains the titular endures being refused by Arjun for her ugly appearance and Chitrangada’s   seeking help from the god of fairness Basanta and the god of love Madan to win Arjun’s love.
The contrast has been created successfully in the production visualising the fair Chitrangada refuses Arjun’s love synchronised with the epilogue Je Phuley Karechele Puja, taken from Tagore’s lyrical drama version of Chitrangada, which had been written by the Noble laureate 44 years before composing the dance drama version of Chitrangada in 1936.
‘I’ve used the prologue and epilogue from Tagore’s lyrical drama version and have tried to present the conflicts of the inner feeling of Chitrangada in more prominent manner than other productions of the dance drama,’ Sharmila Bandopadhyay, the dance director, told New Age. 
Kamolika, Sudeshna and Tapan performed well in their respective characters.
The playback songs rendered by Bulbul Islam, ATM Jahangir and Laisa Ahmed Lisa were also enjoyable.
‘Kamolika and Sudeshna both did great job in portraying the characters they played. However, Swayamprabha’s gestures and stances articulated well the disheartened ugly Chitrangada,’ said Nasrin Akter, an audience.
Another audience Ruhul Kabir Shimul, a university student, praised the spectacular sequences created in the well-coordinated dance drama.

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