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Just Natak presents tenants’ dilemma

October 2010
Just Natak presents tenants’ dilemma Many Bengalis in Atlanta missed the vibrant theater scene in West Bengal and Bangladesh, and so formed a theater group, Just Natak, which strives to present full-length plays at professional theatrical venues.

This year’s play was a comedy, “Bharate Bibhrat” (or “Tenant Confusion”) performed on Saturday, August 28, 2010 at the Red Clay Theatre in Duluth, Georgia. It was notable in that three of the characters spoke in a Bangladeshi accent for the play. The hall was filled almost to capacity for the event, with Indian and Bangladeshi Atlanta-resident Bengalis coming to enjoy an evening together, and the general consensus was delight with the comedy, as well as with the well-practiced accents.

The event began with a rousing opening song by Salil Chowdhury, “pothe ebar namo shathi,” calling for a stand against oppression. Singers were Amitava Sen, Saibal Sengupta, Prabir Bhattacharyya, Richa Sarkar, Suzanne Sen, and Mousumi Mukherjee; music was arranged and performed by Amitava Sen.

The play, introduced by Richa Sarkar, was a slightly modified version of a play “Jai Ma Kali Boarding” written by comedian/actor Bhanu Bandyopadhyay. The problem presented was how a group of young men could escape the trials of living in a run-down boarding house. The perfect solution would be to rent rooms in a decent residence—but respectable homeowners would rather keep their rooms empty than rent them out, in case people think that they are forced to rent their rooms because of hard times. And if they do rent, it is only to a family, not unmarried fellows!

Ramkanai, one of the boarders, comes up with a scheme to get a room in a good house: he convinces two of his friends to act as females and come as his and Kalyan’s wives.
Comedy ensues. The audience was kept entertained and repeatedly burst out in peals of laughter at the shenanigans of Ramkanai, Kalyan, and their “wives” Dilip and Shyamal.
The actors were: Achintya Dey, Amitava Sen, Bijit Banerjee, Debatirtha Basu, Dibyendu De, Dipankar Mitra, Joy Bhattacharjee, M. H. Akmal, Pranab Lahiri, Saibal Sengupta, Shouvik Ganguly, Soma De, Sudeshna (Sonia) Nandi, Surajit Chatterjee, and Urmila Mitra.

Background music by Amitava Sen, sound and lights by Prabir Nandi, Shouvik Ganguly and Abhijit Hazra, prompting by Mamata Paul and Mala Basu, stage management by Mridul Paul, videotaping by Suzanne Sen, still photography by Samaresh Mukhopadhyay, brochure by Urmila Mitra, production by Dibyendu De and Amitava Sen, and direction by Dipankar Mitra helped to produce a quality event. The volunteers and audience were thanked for their support, and another successful performance concluded for the Just Natak group!

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