"আমার বিশ্বাস ভাবিকাল চিরজীবী হোবে আর আমাদের পর ভাবিকাল কে বাঁচিয়ে রাখবে ভাবি-প্রজন্ম", said a senior artist of Bhabikal Theatre Group, Silchar during the annual "Get Together Discussion" arranged by the organisation on its 38th Foundation Day on Monday (May 24). This statement can be said to be the identity of a contemporary styled theatre group like Bhabikal. The "Get Together Discussion", hosted by the group, had veteran former artists of the organisation, who could enlighten the new generation of the group about its struggles and "success-filled" legacy, in addition to nostalgic memories that the organisation and its members had witnessed in the past.
"There remains a history of an organisation like Bhabikal, that has come a long way through the past. The young generation of Bhabikalians should know about the struggles of the organisation, that have shaped its legacy", said Nilotpal Bhattacharjee, a senior artist of Bhabikal Theatre Group. He further added, "The objective behind arranging such a Get Together Discussion was to make the young generation of Bhabikalians introspect on their activities to decide if the current version of the organization is being able to hold on to its glorious legacy, that it created by the virtue of its activities in the past."
Earlier on Monday, the group had released a video on its official facebook page, narrating the story of the idle artists amid the present scenario. While the video presents a tour down the memory lane to a period when the world was healthy and social distancing was an alien term, when the group used to assemble in its age-old rehearsal arena to practice its beloved art form, the video also highlights the gravely important social issues, that have come into limelight amid the COVID crisis.
Click here to watch the video
The Director of Bhabikal Theatre Group, Santanu Paul, in a conversation with The News Core said, "The World, in its history, has never witnessed such a situation, when its artists could feel so helpless and devastated as today. The financial loss, that the professional artists around the globe, are going through, has never been witnessed earlier." He further added, "Although, Bhabikal and Bhabikalians have practiced the art, purely by passion, yet there remains a financial aspect. As a matter of fact, a small theatre production needs investment of around Rs. 1 Lakh. The biggest question today, that the theatre groups in this valley are wondering around, is the source of this investment. Where the people are universally terrified by mass deaths, entertainment naturally loses its significance and existence. Sponsors are hard to be found now-a-days and that is quite natural as well, considering the adversity of the situation around."
Paul said, "Bhabikal and its artists are depressed. I am worried if the curiosity and interest, that we have created among the young generation of this valley towards the art form, is now endangered because of the lack of communication and practices among the artists." He then added, "This valley has seen theatre productions, being staged, infront of a small audience; at times, the number used to stand at 40. But we could create a scenario that had made us witness the entire Banga Bhawan going housefull with audience. However, today I am afraid that we may need to start all over again from scratches. Human beings are slaves of their habits. It is becoming habitual for the race to stay inside home and socialise less. This sometimes compels me to believe that we may fall back all the way, and if this happens, the community will need to retrace the path of success, that it had earlier earned as a result of true hard work." The Director added that he is hopeful to bring back the days. "If I stay healthy and energetic to work hard, I believe that we will be able to bring back the lost laurels of the art form", said Paul.
Bhabikal Theatre Group has staged around 25 major drama productions, since its inception in 1984. The organisation has conducted multiple Youth Theatre Workshops and Children Theatre Workshops to ensure the participation of the contemporary generation in the age old evolving art form of Theatre. As of 24th May, 2021, Bhabikal Theatre Group completes 37 years of its existence, and thus celebrates its 38th Foundation Day.