Author: Ajit Kumar Ghosh
Rabindranath Tagore/Several Contributors
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Amar Mudi
Publisher: Sahitya Akademi
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788126045600
This compilation of select Bengali one-act plays includes a representative cross section of both popular and explosively experimental plays by eminent Bengali playwrights starting from Rabindranath Tagore and encompassing a period of almost seven decades. The Chariot Rope (Rabindranath Tagore), Swans of Hanskhali
(Bijon Bhattacharya), The Seeds (Badal Sircar) and The Demon (Mohit Chattopadhyay) are some of the finest examples of symbolic and absurd plays dealing with the poor and downtrodden people through mythological stories. T
The theme of Ashwathama by Manoj Mitra has been taken from Mahabharata, where the protagonists bring out the mindset of a modern day terrorist or a mercenary soldier perpetrating mindless killing. Other plays are centered on the dilemmas and crisis of the Indian middle-class family, so common in the day-to-day life of people across the country and transcend the barriers of language and region.
The play Muktir Dak written by Manmotho Roy and staged in Star Theatre in 1923 is the ?rst Bangla one-act play which made a mark in the theatre scene of Bengal. Thereafter Manmotho Roy wrote for another sixty years and enriched the Bangla one-act plays with a large number of scripts. He is the best writer of this category of plays when judged by sheer numbers of plays, the variety of subjects he touched upon and the perfection of content and structure. The one-act plays written by Banophul are also of very high standard and very popular. Bijon Bhattacharya is one of the pioneers of progressive and realistic one-act plays.
The one-act plays of Tulsi Lahiri and Digin Bandyopadhyay depict social realism and protest. Bidhayak Bhattacharya, Salil Sen wrote a few but popular one-acts. Kiran Moitra, Romen Lahiri, Biru Mukhopadhyay, Jyotu Bandyopadhyay emphasized upon the crisis in middle class society in their plays. The number of humorous one-act plays is less and the most popular writer of this category is Shailesh Guha Niyogi. Social realism and loud protest is the theme of one-act plays written by Utpal Dutta, Amar Gangopadhyay, Jochan Dastidar, Rabindra Bhattacharyaand others. Ratan Kumar Ghosh, Radharaman Ghosh, Shyamaltanu Dasgupta, Amol Roy wrote absurd and Brechtian plays, which are very popular these days.
Three most powerful playwrights of the contemporary period are Badal Sircar, Mohit Chattopadhyay and Manoj Mitra. Badal Sircar and Mohit Chattopadhyay constantly experimented in their plays by mixing allegory, symbolism, absurd drama, psychiatry, etc. Manoj Mitra has kept the world of drama enthralled with his abundant creativity and variety. He has genuine sympathy with the elderly and neglected members of the family and depicted their characters with humor as well as deep understanding. He has also mesmerized the audience with cruel tragedy in his plays. There are many other old and young writers, who have enriched the world of Bangla one-act plays through their tireless efforts.
About the Translator:
Amar Mudi (b.1955) has so far translated four novels into Bengali: Manohar Shyam Joshi’s Kyaap, Orhan Pamuk‘s My Name is Red, Ismail Kadare’s The Successor and lmre Kersetz’s The Liquidation. A compilation of his poems Jiban Jatra has also been published. He has written several one-act plays and has also directed and acted in many plays.
A few lines from the translator
The Chariot Rope (1932) by Rabindranath Tagore
The Pyre (1950) by Ritwik Ghatak
Mental Disorder (1957) by Dibyendu Lahiri
The Demon (1970) by Mohit Chattopadhyay
The Cloud (1971) by Digindra Chandra Bandyopadhyaya
The Swans of the Hanskhali (1977) by Bijon Bhattacharya
Ashwathama (978) by Manij Mitra
The Seeds (1983) by Badal Sircar
The Unarmed (2000) by Amit Maitra
About the Playwrights