One of the most attractive aspects of our Bangali tradition is our rich enduring love of the stage. From the days of yore when the 'Jatra' grabbed a foothold, throughout Bangladesh and Paschim Banga, theatre/plays have etched a unique place in the 'Bangali psyche.
In the context of theater, Nandikar's name stands tall. Their excursions into classical drama and to the complex psyche of the postmodern existance, their equally masterful delving into the urban and the rural experience , and of course their easy passage into the intricate foreign and Indian texts alike make them stand in a very select clique.
This time to speak to the theater lovers in us, we will have the mesmerizing personalities of Rudraprasad Sengupta, Debsankar Halder, Swatilekha Sengupta and Sohini Sengupta dominate our stage. Rudraprasad Sengupta is one of the last living legends of Bengali theatre, and has starred in several films (Podi Pishir Barmi Baksha, Haate Bazaare, and Hollywood films like Little Buddha and City of Joy).
Debsankar Halder is the most acclaimed actor of Bengali stage, serials, and movies.
In addition to being lead actor in plays for the last 30 years, Swatilekha Sengupta was the heroine for Satyajit Ray's film Ghare Baire. Sohini Halder has performed in lead roles in several plays and won prestigious awards for her performances in films (Paramitar Ekdin and Icche). Watching these stalwarts of Bengali theatre on one stage is a rare event, and we want all of you to be part of this experience.
Other than the personalities themselves, the cardinal attraction are of course the two plays that are to be presented here; Anto Adi Anto an adaptation of the French play 'La Musica' written by Marguerita Duras and directed by Debshankar Haldar. The plot is a surreal revelation of psychological realities framed against an ordinary domestic backdrop where a husband and a wife meet three years after their separation to pick up their formal decree papers.
In perfect harmony with the occasion and the celebration of Gurudev's 150th birth anniversary shortly before, Nandikar brings to us "Amar Priyo Rabindranath" - a collage of Tagore writings with musical accompaniments.
Well known actor, director, theatre and television personality from Bangladesh Shahiduzzaman Selim and Rosey Siddique, the charismatic actress from Padma Nadir Majhi and Love Story will be present here with a short play.
Music we have promised you and music you shall have! During the three days of Bangamela a number of musicians, both vocal and instrumental will be sharing the stage to take you back to your roots and remind you of everything that you held sacrosanct.
The names are many. We have emerging artists and old favorites, artists from Bangladesh and India and local performers as well.
Shubamita Banerjee's voice enthralls one and all. We expect nothing short of a magical performance from this exceptionally talented singer.
Ferdous Ara, the woman with the golden voice, the leading lady of Nazrul Geeti and the renowned voice of modern Bangladeshi music will be here to captivate the audience with her enchanting and mellifluous vocal renditions.
Rezwana Choudhury Bannya's name is synonymous with Rabindra Sangeet in its purest form. She is a versatile music genius and one of the most renowned students of Kanika Bandyopadhyay. Having trained at Visva Bharati during her early years, her style remains true to the authentic Tagorian roots. Both in Bangladesh and in India she remains one of the most popular performers of Rabindrasangeet, Kirtan, light classical as well as folk music. It is our pleasure and pride to announce that Rezwana Choudhury Bannya will be here at Bangamela to mesmerize us with her soulful renditions.
Rabindrasangeet will be a dominating presence with Adity Mohsin and Mohiuzzaman Chowdhury- both emerging artists are from Bangladesh and they have carved a niche with their own unique vocal styles and rendition.
Another addtion to Rabindrasangeet will be Debangana Sarkar. Her voice is strong and melodious, and her gayaki or style reminiscent of Tagore music maestros such as the late Suchitra Mitra and Kanika Bandopadhyay, shall surely impress Bangamela audience.
In Dohar we have a modern day musical troop that listens to the heartbeat of the earth and celebrates the earthy tunes of the folk tradition. A young band that has gained enormous fame and fans will also be here to present their own take on music that is steeped in the tradition of the folk culture and the heritage of the rural yesteryears. This is Dohar's first trip to USA and we are sure the experience will be magical for both the artists and the audience.
For all the Folk music lovers we are proud to say that we expect the well known voice of Baul Shafi Mondal and the famous Chandana Majumdar's Lalan Geeti to fill and resonate in our auditorium.
Along with the vocal performers we also have some exceptional performances in store, from some of the best names in the realm of classical instrumental music.
Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan a Sitar maestro of Hindustani classical music hails from the Etawah Gharana and belongs to a family of long musical lineage. He is one of the most celebrated younger musicians of India, prized especially for the vocalistic phrasing of his raga improvisations domestically and internationally.
Pandit Debojyoti Bose, a multifaceted Sarod Maestro who has enthralled hearts all around the globe will also be here to perform on stage at the Bangamela. A disciple of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and a principle torch bearer of the famous Senia Bangash gharana his flying fingers have earned him a unique place in the hearts of all classical music lovers.
Ustad Azizul Islam, the famous classical flutist hails from the sea and when he picks up the flute it is as if the voice of the sea speaks through him. Having trained under the eminent Ustad Bahadur Khan , Pt. Devendra Murdeshwar , Pt. VG Karnad and Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan, his flute renderings have developed its own unique style. Soulful, mesmeric and passionate - we look forward to seeing him perform at Bangamela.
Oishyarya Basu is a multifaceted emerging artist. An actress in mainstream Bangla films, telefilms, commercial and public interest videos, she is also a key performer in a Recitation band. Her first recitation album, "Bristi Shuvechha" and audio visual CD, "Kabitar Feriwala", both from HMV Saregama has been well received.
Shimul Mustafa is a renouned recitation artist from Bangladesh.
Natasha Dasgupta is a recitation artist who performs regularly in Kolkata and different districts of West Bengal. She is Associated with Doordarshan, Kolkata as a presenter and script writer of "Porjaboran Darshan" . Released two audio CD. "Songe Sunil" is one such CD where eminent poet & writer Sunil Gangopadhyay, President of Sahitya Academy, India shared some unheard stories of his creative moments, some of his famous poetries were recited by her.
Hosts and Hostesses always lend their own character to an event. They are the bond between the audience and the artists and play a vital role in making the program come alive. To tie the Bangamela program together, we will have the familiar faces of the TV Anchor and actress Mallika Majumder and Raya Bhattacharya gracing the stage.
Special Event -Ananya: Tagore's Unparalleled Women, a multimedia production
Ananya brings together Tagore's Unparalleled Women all on one platform through music, dance, enactment and film. Both "the Imaginary"; Mrinmoyee,Binodini and Mrinal and "the Real": Kadambari Devi and Victoria Ocampo.
A performance with the poetics of musicality will take audiences on a journey into the intimate, sensitive and powerful world of these women through carefully chosen extracts, narrated and enacted on stage, from Tagore's seminal novels,short stories,plays and poems.The vast range of Tagore's songs that have a strong influence of Indian classical and folk music will find space in the visualization of the women characters like Sucahrita, Bindodini and Charulata. The music, the dance and the enactment will be intercut with relevant Clips from celebrated films made on Tagore stories by filmmakers like Satyajit Ray & Rituparno Ghosh in Teen Kanya,Charulata& Chokher Bali that bring another dimension to the visualization of these characters.
It is a 50 min production in English that leaves you wanting more of the music,dance, theatre, cinema and the poetry.
Commissioned by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, it has been designed for audiences in India and overseas to enjoy,appreciate and experience the vast body of music and literature of the Nobel Laureate whose work has been translated extensively into numerous foreign languages.