‘Draupadi’ comes back to Imphal after fourteen years
IMPHAL, March 28: Mahasveta Devi’s ‘Draupadi’ was staged at a jam-packed Chadrakirti (CK) auditorium, today at Palace Compound, Imphal. The much acclaimed Play, directed by Heisnam Kanhailal of Kalakshetra is a stage adaption of a book, with the same name written by Mahasveta Devi. Today’s show was part of the four-day International Theatre Exposition organised by Kalakshetra in collaboration with MU, JNM Dance Academy, Art and Culture Dept. GoM and several theatre groups of Manipur.
It may be recalled that the Play was staged for the first time in Imphal in 2000, fourteen years ago. The Play became a subject of controversy on its debut. Women groups and people from literary circle had rejected the Play for its ‘cultural insensitivity’ and ‘indecent’ portrayal of women. Brickbats and backlashes were hurled to the lead actor, Heisnam Sabitri and her husband director, Kanhailal. Ever since, Kalakshetra had stopped showing the Play in Imphal though it has been invited to various theatre festival across the countries for all these years.
“Today’s huge turnout is a record despite the controversy. I thought Manipuri theatre had died away but I was wrong”, said a woman after watching the play. The Play, which lasted for an hour kept the audience awestruck. Some of the International delegates who have come to take part in the Exposition were seen remained seated in their seats long after the completion of the show. Chief Justice in-charge, Justice Laxmikanta Mohapatra and Justice N. koteshwor Singh of Manipur High Court, VC of MU were the prominent audience among a host of scholars, activist and theatre lovers, who occupied the CK auditorium full house.
A book entitled ‘Reimagining Theatre’ was released before the show. The book is published by MU, jointly edited by Prof. N. Loken, Dr. N. Premchand and Prof. M.C. Arun of MU, with critical essays written by the delegates of the exposition. Prof. H.N.K Sharma, VC of MU, Prof. Richard Gough, University of Wales and Samik Bandyopadhyay, eminent theatre critic released the book to the audience.