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HindustanTimes Fri,28 Nov 2014

NSD takes 'Mobile theatre of Assam' as its case study

Digambar Patowary, Hindustan Times  Guwahati, February 21, 2010
First Published: 15:40 IST(21/2/2010) | Last Updated: 15:43 IST(21/2/2010)

Mobile theatre of Assam, popularly known as 'Bhraymaman' theatre in the state, which would enter 50 years of its existence in 2012 has finally able to draw National School of Drama (NSD)'s attention. NSD has decided to take the 'Mobile Theatre' of Assam as its case study because nowhere in the country such a popular medium of entertainment exists except in Assam.

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NSD has invited Kahinoor theatre, a popular and leading mobile theatre group of Assam for performing six shows in New Delhi in the third week of April 2010. The productions that would be staged at New Delhi will include Ashimat Jar Heral Sima, O Moi Munnai Kaisu and Sitare Semeka Raati.

Producer of Kahinoor theatre, Ratan Lahkar said that initiative of NSD will give Assam's mobile theatre movement a national platform. "NSD officials told me that in future they will take initiatives to stage our dramas in other states of the country", said Lahkar.

Achyut lahkar, who gave birth to mobile theatre in Assamway back in the 1963, is said to be the father figure of the numerous artistes, technicians and others associated with this cultural mass medium. It was the untiring efforts of many of his successors that have brought mobile theatre to today's prestigious position. Ratan Lahkar, the producer of the famed Kohinoor Theatre, is one among them. He started Kohinoor Theatre in 1975.

It was in Kohinoor Theatre that several world famous plays, novels, epics and films had their Assamese adaptations. Kohinoor created a sort of record, staging dramas like Mahabharat, Ramayan, Illiad-Odyssey, Cleopatra, Ben Hur, Hamlet, Othello; Titanic etc. Likewise, some immortal works of Assamese literature too were adapted for the stage. As an obligation to society, Kohinoor staged an AIDS awareness drive through drama.

Though mobile theatre of Assam has certain things in common with the Jatra of West Bengal, for example, the roving nature and performance on makeshift stages, the Assam productions put in much more effort for technical perfection.

Most of the mobile theatre groups start their tour from mid-August and wind up by April. An industry in its own right with an annual turnover of over Rs. 10 crore, the mobile theatre industry of Assam has been gaining in size with time. "Mobile theatre industry of Assam has been surviving in people's support. Govt. has not taken any initiative for the industry's growth", added Lahkar.


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