August 5, 2019

Puppet Play ‘Praisitta’ Impresses Everyone

Puppetry’s growing popularity and appeal in the country and indeed, Assam, augurs truly well for this ancient art form. Recently, a puppetry play performed on the occasion of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, was thoroughly enjoyed by the young and the adults alike, at the Guwahati District Library. The half-hour glove puppetry play in Hindi called ‘Praisitta’, presented by the students of Guwahati-based cultural institution Surojit Academy, was graced by eminent guests Santanu Bharali, who is the legal advisor to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Bishnu Kamal Borah, Director, Directorate of Cultural Affairs, Assam, and Rajeev Baruah, Station Director, All India Radio, Guwahati, among others.

The play, written and directed by Binita Devi, showed some memorable incidents from Mahatma Gandhi’s childhood, which were enjoyed to the hilt by the audiences, who were intrigued by the depth and the intricacy of the puppeteers, led from the front by Binita Devi, who has contributed much in creating awareness of this art form.

Her influence and the influence of the artistes she draws to her institute has been adding significantly to the training and growth of her students. She along with her husband Simanta Sarma have been presenting their works at a range of theatres and festivals in the state and other parts of the country.

The glove puppets, used in the play ‘Praisitta’, were manipulated and maneuvered by Anita Devi, Hridayjyoti Das, Simanta Sarma, Dhrubajyoti Kalita, Hardik Sarma, Gitima Das and Pranabjyoti Rabha. It was heartening to see a number of children, students from universities and colleges from across the state, in addition to researchers, educationists, artistes, litterateurs, connoisseurs of art, among others, attending the play. The voice to the childhood character of Mahatma Gandhi was suitably rendered by Hardik Sarma.

Binita Devi, who is a Tagore National Research Scholar from the Ministry of Culture, Govt of India, and a Junior Fellowship Awardee from the Ministry of Culture, New Delhi,  and her husband Simanta Sarma has been imparting training in glove puppetry to a number of pupils from all over the State at their institute Surojit Academy, which is registered under the Regional Outreach Bureau, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Govt. of India, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, Govt of India, and is empanelled with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Govt. of India & Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India. It has always been the primary objective of their cultural institution to promote and create awareness of this vanishing art form.

The audiences were also treated to Lakshminath Bezbaroa’s well-known play ‘Lotkan’, which was dramatised and directed by Simanta Sarma, and featured the acting talents of Hardik Sarma, Jiten Boro, Hemen Senapati, Hridayjyoti Das, Pranabjyoti Rabha, Dhrubajyoti Das, Karismita Das, Gitima Das, Thawardip Raichoudhury, Krishanu Sarma and Himakshi Das.

Prantik Deka


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