Today what I am going to share can rarely be seen now-a-days…
“Jatra”…do you know what it is, I know you all are acquainted with this but with different names…like Nautanki in Uttar Pradesh, Tamasha in Maharashtra and Bhavai in Gujrat, though there are slight differences with all these with the so called Bengali Jatra.
In Bengali “Jatra’ means the journey, literally it means…when you are moving from one place to another then it’s called Jatra, with the same thought the Bengali folk theaters are called Jatra because when television and mobile were beyond the imagination of human being those days Jatra used to play an important role for the entertainment and the journey used to start from the month of September and used to end before the beginning of monsoon, the troops used to visit different places…villages and towns and used to perform the jatra.
The most interesting fact about the origin of Jatra is…it was traditionally created during lord Chaitanya’s Bhakti movement, where Chaitnya Dev used the play the role of Rukmini(the wife of Lord Krishna).
Though Jatra originated with different religious movements but later it has left a deep impact and performed to spread social, ethical and moral awareness, it always contains some good messages for the society.
Jatra usually performed openly in a stage made with bamboos and curtains and with musical concert. Generally Jatra Pala use to start from night and ends in the midnight or dawn.
With time lots of changes has happened with the stage and with the content.
Earlier days Jatra used to be performed only by the male members, they used to play both the male characters and the female characters with proper get ups.
When we talk about theater and don’t mention Binodini Dasi…that will be not fair.
Binodini Dasi widely popular as Noti Binodini…she started her carrier under the guidance of famous theater director GirishChandra Ghosh, who was also a poet, novelist, actor, play writer and musician.
Noti Binodini performed more than in eighty roles in her twelve years of carrier, she had mastery in acting, there is a real incident that explains her hold in acting that took place in famous Star Theater in Kolkata…she was playing the role of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and in the audience there was Ramkrishna Paramhansa Dev…she performed the role so fantastically that seeing her acting Ramkrsihna went into trans.
Noti Binodini is the perfect example which explains that acting can take you to how much height…she came into theater from brothel house yet by acting she achieved everyone’s’ respect, later not only did she study but also wrote few books.
The difference between theater and Drama is…
You have to deliver dialogue almost four times higher voice than drama and the acting should be too much expressive.
It is said that….it’s much easier to act in movies than to act in Jatra….because there is no chance of re-take, you have to perform in one chance, this is the reason thespian actors are more welcome in cinema world.
There is also a common thought that…the Jatra of Bengal is good to listen and the Jatra of Odissa is good to watch…it does not mean at all that the actors of Odissa are not good or the stages in West benagl are not well designed…actually it is said because the Jatra Pala in West Bengal is performed in a single stage where as the Jatra Pala in Odissa is performed in different stages.
Here are some notable Bengali theater actor
Ritwik Ghatak...an well know Film Director also.
Utpal Dutta...an well known film actor.
Soumitra Chatterjee...Bengali actor, Dad Saheb Phalke award winner.
here i am sharing two video so that you can relate more deeply with Bengali Jatra...