Convicts in a Bengal jail are all set to give Bollywood and the likes of Rani Mukherjee a run for their money. Inmates are preparing an English drama "Begum Samru" which is to be staged in two months. Rani Mukherjee has been considered for playing the role of Begum Samru in Tigmangshu Dhulia’s (Paan Singh Tomar director) next project. Behind the bar Aditi Kanjilal a life convict for murder is playing the lead role.
"The idea came from former IG jail B D Sharma and I started the workshop of training them in November last year. Now we are engaged in full-fledged rehearsals. By the next two months we will be ready for stage," said Rohit Pombra director of the play. Pombra 1986 founded Stagecraft, one of Kolkata’s premier English language amateur theatre groups, which has presented 46 productions in the 25 years.
"We have read that Rani Mukherjee is being roped in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s film Begum Samru. Inmates are working hard to stage the show before the film release. We intend to call the director and actress on our first show," added Pombra.
The cast for the play includes inmates convicted for crimes such as murder and drug peddling. Apart from Aditi, Walter Reinhardt Sombre is being played by murder convict Kunal Majumder.
"Initially the director had trouble in locating the right persons, but now things have fallen in place after talented persons were spotted in the jails," said Ranvir Kumar, inspector general, jails.
Kamlesh Sharma serving 10 years is playing the role of Enayatullah Khan military officer. Farukh Ehsaan convict is fake currency case is playing Father Gregorio.
Apart from rehearsals in Alipore women’s jail, actor inmates even practice till late night at their individual cells or wards.
The drama revolves around the life of historical character Samru, who was a Nautch girl in 18th century, but eventually became the ruler of Sardhana, a principality near Meerut. She married a European mercenary, Walter Reinhardt Sombre and is regarded as the only Catholic ruler in India.
The costumes and props are being designed by Perin Pombra, but are being tailored by inmates inside the jail.
Earlier ‘Valmiki Pratibha’ a Bengali play by Tagore was staged for former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and later for Mamata Banerjee.