Saturday, January 8, 2011

Charandas Chor - Anup Hazarika (Assamese)

The Inaugural Performace at the 13th Theatre Bharat Rang Mahotsav festival of NSD was Anup Hazarika's (himself an NSD alumnus) Assamese version of Habib Tanvir's Charandas Chor.

While Habib Tanvir used local Chattisgarhi actors in his play, Anup Hazarika brought a new perspective infused with Assamese music and dance.

Watching the performance was like being invited to sit around a warm fire in the village common grounds to watch a local theater troupe perform a play with music, dance, slapstick comic relief and a moral to the story.

Charandas Chor is originally a Rajasthani folktale about a thief who promises his guru 4 things - never to eat off golden plates, never to ride at the head of a procession on an elephant, never to marry a queen and never to accept kingship. Amused by his self declared promises, his guru asks him to make one more promise - never to lie (since he refuses to give up stealing which he says is his vocation) and the story goes on from here.

The original script does not include the songs, so Director Hazarika uses nagara naam, naokhelor geet - boat racing songs, biya naam - marriage songs and other Assamese folk forms.

Jitumoi Gohain as Charandas and Chandan Boruah as the Hawaldar were excellent performers. The live music performances on stage kept the beat throughout and set the scenes.

Do catch this play if you get the chance.

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