Manipuri theatre chants ‘Shree Krishna Kirtan’ in Dhaka

November 9th, 2008 - 2:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Nov 9 (IANS) A local Manipuri theatre group performed “Shree Krishna Kirtan” and a traditional art form “Natpala” at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy to celebrate its 12th anniversary.”Shree Krishna Kirtan” is the troupe’s 13th production. When the play was first staged, it was over three hours long. However, at its repeat performance here, the troupe had to whittle down the play to one hour and five minutes.

Shubhashish Shameer adapted the play from a medieval piece written by Baru Chandidas, local reports said.

Chandidas wrote “Shree Krishna Kirtan” to highlight the anthropomorphic aspects of Lord Krishna. It was an ardous process as he had to pore over puran and religious books. In the play, Shameer worked on only seven episodes out of 13 from Chandidas’ piece.

At the beginning of the play, we see the central figures of Krishna and Radha. Radha along with Barayi and her friends goes to Vrindavan, where Barayi loses her way and meets young Krishna. Barayi describes Radha’s beauty to Krishna and asks him to direct her to home. A besotted Krishna asks Barayi to play a mediator for him so that he can get Radha to accept him as a suitor.

Barayi tells Radha about her encounter with Krishna in Vrindavan. However Radha turns down Krishna’s proposal. At this, Krishna feels humiliated and vengeful. On the banks of Jamuna river, Krishna once again proposes to Radha but his efforts go in vain. A desperate Krishna finally seizes Radha through ‘madan baan’.

Jyoti Sinha and Shukla Sinha were superb in the roles of Radha and Barayi. Aparna Sinha could have done better as Krishna, the Daily Star’s cultural correspondent said.

A traditional “Natpala” was staged after the “Shree Krishna Kirtan”. Influenced by the Vaishnavism, Manipuri people depicted the tale of Radha-Krishna through the natpala. The performance was half an hour long, accompanied by Manipuri traditional instruments like mridanga, dhol and mandira.

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