- Posted April 13, 2014 by
Kolkata, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Ignore me more time as you like (Binodini Dasi)
West Bengal State Academi of Dance Drama Music and Visual Arts, Rabindra Bharati University organized one program 'Natake-gane Binod'. And recently added one more theater hall at Kolkata in the memory of Nati Binodini. Govt of West Bengal has built above hall at North Kolkata.
NATI BINODINI: ''Born to prostitution, she started her career as a courtesan and at twelve she played her first serious drama role in Calcutta's National Theatre in 1874, under the mentor ship of its founder, Girish Chandra Ghosh. Her career coincided with the growth of the proscenium-inspired form of European theater among the Bengali theater going audience. During a career spanning twelve years she enacted over eighty roles, which included those of Pramila, Sita, Draupadi, Radha, Ayesha, Kaikeyi, Motibibi, and Kapalkundala, among others. She was one of the first South Asian actresses of the theater to write her own autobiography. Her sudden retirement from the stage is insufficiently explained.
Sri Ramakrishna, a saint of 19th century Bengal, came to see her play in 1884. During her bygone days of glory, she was referred to as the Flower of the Native Stage and Moon of the Star Theater. She was a pioneering entrepreneur of the Bengali stage and introduced modern techniques of stage make-up through blending European and indigenous styles.
Veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee who has written the introduction to the recent reprint of her autobiography, mentions that the chroniclers of the theatre movement in 19th century Bengal make no reference to Binodini. This may be partly explained as an instance of class-caste divide. The upper class Brahmin-Brahmo dominated establishment that spearheaded the Bengal Renaissance felt it improper to acknowledge the merits of the talented lowly born. Her contribution to the establishment and enrichment of the organisations she was associated with, has been largely glossed over.
Her autobiography is lucid and explores a section of the 19th century Bengali world, at ease with European ideas, but conscious enough to carefully subjugate the female to the domain of the household. Women who talked of and expressed in their lives the very embodiment of liberated femininity were, surreptitiously viewed from a distance, to be loved and be the object of scorn—and never aspire to respectable notions of femininity'' (Wikipedia)
It will be not irrelevant if we arrange Lady Abala Bose quote that is ''The society was started, with the object of promoting, in every way, the welfare of the backward sections of the population of Bengal and Assam and instilling into the minds of the down trodden people the idea of dignity and self respect as human beings. (Desh, 23 October, 1937). Bengal proud of 19th century because renowned intellectual, reformer, poet, novelist theater personality all coming from 19th century. It was golden cultural period of British India. Babu culture has had established sophisticated society beside 'Binodani' and Bengal folk has had taken major parts to entertains 'Itar class' or 'chotalog' sangskriti which was associated into Schedule cast community. Some one Russian critic has had written ''Coupled with cults which were serious in tone and organization were other comic cults which laughed and scoffed at the deity..coupled with serious myths were comic and abusive ones; coupled with heroes were their parodies and doubles...'' And like these comic, cult, and parody folk artist added into society that ''offered a completely different, non-official and extra political aspect of the wold, of the world, of man and human relations, they built a second world and a second life outside officialdom..''
However, despite the fact that Girish Chandra Ghosh's group has had been survived primarily on her prowess, She was never treated with respect and was always made to feel a 'fallen woman', who was ''also an actress.'' In 1883, Girish Chandra Ghosh and his close aides pressed Binodini for financial help and much to her reservations she was able acquire the Rs. 50, 000 required for the theater from a young Marwari gentleman who agreed to pay the amount in return for her service. After that Binodini retired from stage performances at the peak of her career. Decision has had been came after expire of Shri Ramakrishna in 1886.
Leader of Indian theater state West Bengal failed to continue tradition after end of Shambhu Mitra, Tripti Mitra, Utpal dutta, Ajitesh Bandyopadhyai, Badal Sarkar era. Bengali theater baton has had been occupied by Bivas Chkroborty, Manoj Mitra, Rudra Prasad Sengupta, Shouli Mitra, Meghnath Bhattachayea and partly Soumitr Chattopadhyai. But due to age and sociopolitical reason our above mention distinguished theater personality were not able to continue regular basis. Except Meghnath Bhattachayeea. Presently groups of five theater personality from post left front Bengal, try to occupied middle class stage. Those are Devshankar Halder, Suman Mukherjee, Sohini Sengupta, Koushik Sen and leader of Natyajan Sreeman Bratya Basu. I think Bratya is a good organizer for Bengali natya movement. AS per Shri Soumitra Chattapadhyai and Suman Mukherjee's statement, there no constructive work in Bengal. Huge fund may be available in so-called modern theater mahalla, but minimum tune of social touch we are missing. একটি বাংলা দৈনিকে সুম্ ন লিখছেন, ''উৎ পল বাবুর শ্রেষ্ঠ প্রযজনা নতুন পি-এলিটি তে। অজিতেশ বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়ের কয়েক টি শ্রেষ্ঠ কাজ নান্দীকার ভাঙ্গার পর।বিভাস চক্রবর্তী থিয়েটার ওয়ারকশপ থেকে বেরিয়ে আসার প্ র শ্রেষ্ঠ কাজ ক্ রেছেন। --------পাশাপাশি গত কয়েক বছ রে দলের সংখ্যা অনেক বাড়লেও, নাটকের উন্নতিসাধ্ নে নানা উদ্যোগ সতেবও, নাটকে মোটা অঙ্কের অরথের প্রবেশ ঘটলেও থিয়েটারের মান মধ্যমানের নীচে অপসৃত।''
Hiren Bhattacharyeea has written with Epic Theater special issue edited by Utpal Dutta on February 10, 1981, ''আবার বিপ্লবী নাটকের ক্ষেত্রে এ সমস্যা ইন্টারন্যাশনাল। সবিয়েতর সমালোচনা সাহিত্যে তো এ নিয়ে সরগরম। Y-Osetro তাঁর ''Paradoxes of criticism'' (1965) প্রবন্ধে ''......Objects of the unscientific interpretation of ideal hero as a distillate 'including all of man's virtue and none of his faults.''