Nandanik’s Chadaluni reinvents the message of humanity in Odia mythology

Koraput: To commemorate its fifth year, Koraput based theatre group staged the premiere show of its latest Odia production, Chandaluni, today evening at the Bhanja Mandap auditorium, HAL Township, Sunabeda of Koraput district.
The play adapted from Bhaktakabi Balaram Das’ popular folk tale, ‘Lakhmipurana shria chandaluni’ was adapted by Monideepa Gupta and directed by Sourav Gupta. The play centres around the plight of a socially isolated tribal lady Rohila who is a devotee of Goddess Laxmi. Her best friend is also a giril called Laxmi. The latter even after marriage often comes to meet Rohila and this does not go down well with his husband and brother in law who are extremely caste sensitive. Laxmi is insulted and driven away from home for keeping in terms with Rohila. Laxmi, being a village girl has unique friendship with birds and animals who take up the matter to teach her family members a lesson. They create such a situation where her husband and brother in law are forced to starve, take to streets and beg for food. Eventually they are fed by the same Rohila whom they had despised. The incident ignites their conscience and they take back Laxmi with an apology.
“We have followed the spirit of ‘Laxmi puran’ which upholds prestige of an woman and there are two parallel plots running-one, the age old text and its modern adaptation. We have shown the Gods and goddesses as real human beings as it seems that their conduct is very much humane and the issues are extremely relevant. In our play, the Ashtobetal have been adapted into animals capable of affecting hilarious situations.” Said Monideepa Gupta, Secretary of Nandanik who has also adapted the play.
“The play has been designed in a manner so that it may be performed in all kinds of space. We don’t want to restrict ourselves in proscenium. We have also tried to reduce dependence on language as much as possible so that audience in all parts of the country may enjoy it. So, it has, besides acting, songs, dances and mime. We are not using theatre mood lights or settings also so that it remains mobile and can reach out at places like Koraput where there are no proscenium stage.” Asserted Sourav Gupta, who has directed the play.
‘The idea of staging Lakhmi puran in such a folk style by converting the deities into human beings was excellent”, said Shri Narayan Panda, eminent literary critique of Koraput. ‘The acting, music, dances and the team work was excellent’, commented Shri Jaladhara Swain, eminent poet of Koraput. The play was well appreciated by Pradipta Mohanty, Mrinmay Sarkar, Sushant Routray and Biswaranjan Kanungo among the theatre fraternity of the Koraput region.
Ranjit Jena, Sanam Gahan, Subas Darjee, Yasmin Lenka, Sitangshu Rath, Pradeep Routray, Sudipta Sahoo, Abhaya Das, Arabinda Lenka, Saritdip Satapathy, Sonali Pal, Rashmita Khara, Minati Mandi, Nilam Gahan, Subhas Chandra Behera, Tapomay Samal, Sharda Khuntia, Saumendra Kr Swain, Monideepa Gupta and Sourav Gupta participated in the performance. Chandaluni has been invited in the prestigious ‘Natyamela’ at Kolkata organized by Government of West Bengal later this month, informed Monideepa Gupta.
Formed in 2014 by Sourav Gupta and Monideepa Gupta, Nandanik is a group of young people dedicated to serious theatre practice. In these five years the group has put Koraput on the theatre map of India through its continuous deluge of theatre activity ranging from plays, festivals, workshops and seminars.

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