Jyoti Basu to appear soon on stage | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Jyoti Basu to appear soon on stage

Former Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu is going to be resurrected on stage, just a month after his death, with a prominent jatra (folk opera) group mounting a production on the Marxist legend touching the last 40 years of his eventful life.

kolkata Updated: Feb 15, 2010 13:13 IST

Former Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu is going to be resurrected on stage, just a month after his death, with a prominent jatra (folk opera) group mounting a production on the Marxist legend touching the last 40 years of his eventful life.

Titled 'Alor Sikha Amar Jyoti', the jatra, scheduled to roll out by February end, will begin with the CPI(M) patriarch's death on January 17 and then go back 40 years to 1972 when the leader confronted the Congress at Baranagar in the city's northern fringe.

The manager of the jatra company 'Anjali Opera', Prashanta Goswami, told PTI candidly that he wants to cash in on the wave of popularity post the death of the mass leader, with a near-hysteric crowd attending his funeral procession and the media frenzy that followed suit.

"The facts will be presented through the voice of a journalist, who having known Basu for a long time will chronicle the landmark events in the leader's life which will then be enacted," Goswami said.

After touching Basu's stint as opposition leader in the early 70s, his coming to power with a massive popular mandate in 1977, his historic public meeting following the rout of Congress and his stint in Writers Building from the late 70s till 2000 will all find place in the over three-hour-long play.

The jatra will also highlight Basu's landmark political decisions like land reforms and panchayat body elections which brought about a revolutionary change in agrarian rural Bengal.

The talented small screen actor Gouri Shankar Panda will essay the role of the former CM, who was known to be a thorough gentleman as well as a strict disciplinarian.

"We will touch upon his personal equation with leaders like diehard opponent Mamata Banerjee, Pranab Mukherjee, Sonia Gandhi and others among a galaxy of personalities that the leader had come in contact with in different stages of his life," Goswami said.

He answered the question as to how will controversies surrounding Basu's long rule in the state be dealt with, by saying that the jatra would be "acceptable to all sections of people" and the objective of the play is to highlight the leader's "towering personality".

As the journalist-chronicler would touch on Basu's relation with the media, many little known incidents revealing a different Basu would unfold, Goswami promised.

The character of Basu's close friend and bitter political rival Siddhartha Shankar Roy will be a pivotal in the play.

The play has already received at least 18 bookings from all parts of Bengal - from Dinhata and Siliguri to places like Keshpur, Naradole, Gangajalbati in Maoist-hit Bankura and Bhagabangola in Trinamool-run East Midnapore district for the busy season between February and March.