May 23, 2019

‘Champawati’ Staged on the Occassion of World Puppetry Day

It has been for years now that a traditional form of puppetry, commonly known as ‘Putola Nach’, has been providing an unique treat for people in the state, creating not just entertainment but also provoking thought. Thanks in large measure to the efforts of Binita Devi, Junior Fellowship Awardee from Ministry of Culture, Govt of India, puppetry has evolved, and experienced a renewed interest and growth in Assam. Devi, whose works have been presented at a range of theatres and festivals in the state and other parts of the country, is playing a key role in reviving people’s interest in this ancient art form. She has been imparting training in puppetry to students from all over the State in various workshops and training programmes. 

It is to her credit that the demand for her puppetry creations has been growing, even in foreign shores. Her creations have even found appreciation from none other than the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. It has always been her abiding interest and aim to promote and create awareness of this vanishing art form.

On the occasion of World Puppetry Day, Surajit Academy, under the sponsorship of Sangeet Natak Akademi, presented Rasaraj Lakshminath Bezbaroa’s ‘Champawati’ in the form of a puppet drama at the District Library in Guwahati, on March 21. The play, held in the memory of Ramesh Chandra Sarma, founder and chief assistant teacher of Gauhati University Adarsha High Secondary School, was written by Simanta Sarma and directed by Binita Devi.

The music of the play, which involved shadow and stick puppets, was scored by Abhijit Barman. A song in the play – ‘Hur hur bota charai..’, was beautifully sung by Adishna Rajbongshi. The various voices in the play were rendered by Binita Devi, Adishna Rajbongshi, Swapan Das, Gitima Das and Simanta Sarma. The puppets were manipulated by Hardik Sarma, Anita Devi, Simanta Sarma, Binita Devi, Hridayjyoti Das, Dhrubajyoti Kalita, Vivek Das, Anita Devi, Hemen Senapati and Gitima Das.

The cultural evening was inaugurated by Dr Amalendu Chakrabarty, Head of the Department of Bengali, Gauhati University, and graced by Manoj Baruah, Vice Chairman, Assam State Agriculture Marketing Board and filmmaker Sambhu Gupta as the guests of honour. On the occasion, a play - ‘Putola Nachar Kahini’, written and directed by Sambhu Gupta, and participated by the members of Surojit Academy, was also presented. The roles were enacted by Swapan Das, Binita Devi, Hemen Senapati, Hardik Sarma, Dhrubajyoti Kalita, Apolok Sarma and Hridayjyoti Das. The play’s music was scored by Sarat Kalita and lighting was executed by Kanu.

Prantik Deka


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