News & Reviews

Team DI at SAMPREETI Author:Amit Dutt   Posted On:2018-02-26


A JOLT TO THE CONSCIENCE – a review of DI’s play at Sampreeti by AMIT DUTT

It was a fitting commemoration of Language Movement Day, termed simply as Ekushe, or the 21st -- an allusion to that day in February 66 years ago when six young lives were snuffed out violently and untimely at Dhaka University for displaying the courage to struggle for the establishment of Bangla as the official language in erstwhile East Pakistan -- felled by police bullets. The remembrance referred to is the 16th edition of Sampreeti, the festival of Bengali plays that got under way on Wednesday evening with Mukhosher Arale by Outram Club, followed by Bibek-i Dai by Dalhousie Institute.

While Mukhosher Arale, or Behind the Mask, was not unimpressive, Bibek-i Dai stood out for its quintessence. Translated as “The Conscience is Guilty”, Bibek-i Dai is an adaptation of J.B. Priestly’s “Inspector Calls”. The exercise, an emphatic testament to Biplab Dasgupta’s flair with the pen matched by a proficiency in the two languages, brought to the fore his versatility, eloquently demonstrated by his directorial acumen and thespian dexterity.

The plot, centred round the suicide of a young girl, explores the circumstances which drove the victim to the step she had, in utter despair, to take. In the process Dasgupta, in the eponymous role of Bibek, the police Inspector, interrogates the members of a wealthy and, hence, influential family and succeeds in extracting the confessions -- if unwilling and, at times, unwitting -- from each of the suspects, with their guilt in precipitating the hapless girl into the extreme measure. The voice-over poignantly portrays the anguish of the tormented, victim to the mindless indifference of a callous employer and the hauteur of an arrogant customer, prey to the lust, successively, of the would-be son-in-law and the son and, finally, the last proverbial straw, casualty to the contemptuous disdain of the socialite, Nandini.

Shorn of histrionics, each member of the cast redeemed his or her role. Admirably. The build-up to this 50-minute presentation lasted a mere five weeks. The rehearsals, fast growing to a near frenzy,  had, as with all such efforts, their usual share of ires, frustrations, uncertainties and levities -- never a dull moment -- culminating eventually in a collective, sublime sense of fulfilment. The diligence of the cast was evident from the fact that the prompter did not quite earn his pay.

The grip – vice-like, one is inclined to compare -- the play had on the audience can be estimated from the chocka auditorium right to the tableau before the curtains came down; usually members of each club have this proclivity to leave once the play of their association is over. And the acting was appropriately complemented by the mise en scene, the score and the subtle play of light that brought forth the different moods and flash-backs with vivid clarity. The curtain call remained the final conclusive proof -- if proof was warranted by then – of the resounding success of the play.

The cast:

Inspector Bibek Roy      ...  Biplab Dasgupta

Niladri Ganguly              ...  Jayajit Biswas

Nandini Ganguly            ...  Aditi Dutt

Meghna Ganguly           ...  Lipi Dey

Shom Shankar Ganguly ...  Abhik Bhattacharya

Vikram Sen                    ...  Subham Poddar

Voice-over of victim      ...  Amrita Dutt

Opening Narrator         ... Sovan Dutt