For the people of Assam, ‘Jyotirupa’ is a much familiar name. This premier socio-cultural institution has been organizing one-act drama competitions under the dynamic leadership of cultural activist Prafulla Govinda Baruah for the last 37 years, which is well and truly worthy of admiration. An annual theatrical event, ‘Jyotirupa Drama Competition’ has grown exponentially in stature over the years. Infact, it has been playing an important role in supporting and promoting emerging theatre in the state. A number of leading amateur drama groups from Assam and other North-East states have been a part of this annual event since it’s very inception. Like the years before, this time around too, the week-long drama contest that concluded successfully on January 31 last witnessed a fascinating range of plays by 26 drama groups spread from across the North-East states as well as a good turnout, securing its status as one of the most prestigious theatrical event. The winners were judged by a panel comprising of well-known artist Nilu Chakraborty, eminent dramatist Prabhat Goswami and noted actress Purnima Pathak Saikia. Besides awarding the winners with certificates, trophies and cash prizes, a colourful cultural show also took place on the closing day at the Rabindra Bhawan.
The week-long drama contest is certainly a challenging and exciting time for young aspiring artistes. It may not possess the glamour of cinema, but even now, Jyotirupa stirs up enough excitement amongst various groups. It has undoubtedly raised the profiles of winning teams, artistes, directors and writers over the years. The audiences and critics were treated to some really terrific plays this year, although many may argue and rightly so, that the levels of creativity and maturity have gone down quite a bit since the eighties and nineties, which were very productive years in terms of the overall quality of plays staged at the contest.
This year, the Best One-Act Drama Team carrying the Radha Govinda Baruah Memorial Running Trophy, Jyotirupa award and a cash prize of Rs 10,000 was bagged by Natghar of Nityananda for its play ‘Murkhar Bakastu’. The award for Best Playwright nabbed by Kishore Tahbildar for the same play, comprised of the Ishan Baruah Memorial Award, cash and Jyotirupa Award. The Siva Thakur Memorial Running Trophy, Jyotirupa Award and cash for the Best Director also went to Kishore Tahbildar for ‘Murkhar Bakastu’.
The Best Actor prize comprising of the Sishir Goswami Memorial Award, Jyotirupa Award and cash, was bagged by Pathshala-based Natmandal’s Tapan Deka for his starring role in ‘Atithisala’. On the other hand, the Jayanta Baruah Memorial Award, Jyotirupa Award and cash for Best Actress was bagged by Rudraksh Theatre & Art’s Chandita Banerjee for the play ‘Aagle Janam Bhi Mohe Bitiya Kijo’. The Siddharth Medhi Memorial Running Trophy, Jyotirupa Award and cash for the Best Child Actor went to Pahi Kalita. Ranjan Talukdar is adjudged the Best Comic actor. The performances by the artistes earned them high praise and appreciation from the audiences and critics alike.
The Radha Govinda Baruah Memorial Running Trophy, Jyotirupa Award and a cash prize of Rs 7,000, for the Second Best One-Act Drama Team was seized by Pathshala’s Natmandal. The Third Best Team, Pahi Creation of Nalbari was presented with the Radha Govinda Baruah Memorial Running Trophy, Jyotirupa Award and a cash prize of Rs 5,000. The OP Nayar Award and cash for the Second Best Director was bagged by Kripal Kalita. The Second Best Acting prize for male, carrying the Premalata Lahkar Memorial Award, Jyotirupa Award and cash was nabbed by Nabajyoti Kashyap. On the other hand, the Second Best Acting prize for female was bagged by Reema Boro. The Kishore Thakuria Memorial Running Trophy and cash for the Best-Disciplined Team was bagged by Natshala of Patacharkuchi.
In the mono acting category, Dolirani Devi, who got the Kishore Thakuria Award, Jyotirupa Award and cash, bagged the first prize. The second and third prizes carrying the Jyotirupa Award and cash went to Pratiksha Sarma and Sakya Singha Sarma respectively.
This time, Jyotirupa felicitated eminent dramatist-filmmaker Munin Baruah, who heaped praises on the socio-cultural organization for promoting healthy theatre movement in the state.
The closing ceremony on January 31 included a Bhajan performance by Kritanjali, Sattriya recital by a group led by Kirtana Bordoloi, song renditions by artistes Rubul Kalita and Surajit Malakar, and a lively Bhortaal performance by child artiste Rodali Bora under the direction of dhol exponent Ranjit Gogoi.