Kuhokini Kotha (Talks of an Enchantress) by Mitul Dutta

Kohokini Kotha

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“The mirror she stood in front for a while was in fact her face. The day had past before she realised that. Blue, an unblemished tint of blue. What is that on her forehead? A bullet? Or could it be a hornet? Ugh! The hornet’s leg bleeds. Drenching her eyelids, out and out. O this phrase: “out-and-out”! Crap! Titillating without a cause. Since long. A blue hand, looming large with countless rings. A yellow river, with dried-up blood flowing. Since long. All this is what she is. A mirror. But the mirror never accepted her. Every time she looked to see a face there, it threw back an army of moles and freckles and blotches at her. And the unbearable sunburn!... She does not know where she would flee from all this. Her whole world has turned into a house of mirrors. All eyes, of her dear ones, as if but pretexts through which she could view herself. As if an all-pervading sacrificial rite. And inside her breast is musing some favorite radio song of your ‘I shall not watch my face in the mirror, no no no I shan’t…I will become as imaginary as love to myself’…”
The narrative of Kuhokini Kotha originates from Mitul Dutta’s autobiographical novel Pargacha – which narrates a journey of a girl – ‘phute otha aar jhore jaoyar majhkhane phul-tar porikroma’ (a journey in between a blossoming and a shedding off)…‘phute otha aar jhore jaoyar apato-modhur, apato-bishonno golpo’ (the apparently pleasant, apparently melancholic narrative of the journey). How many miles need this girl travel before she turns an enchantress? “How many ethereal connections of dream-reality must she negotiate? Is her fate ought to be love or spite, sexual pressure or repression-filled dreams?” One day, whilst she encounters her own self before the mirror, the narrative begins.
Though (through the characters of Srijon and Swagota) Mitul Dutta represents a certain section of this society, Kuhokini Kotha is not targeted towards the entire mass, more precisely every individual. “seisob pagol, matal, kobi, uronchondi, aar premik-der jonno amar ‘Kuhokini Kotha’”, who survive only for poetry-music-still and motion picture-theatre, “jara bhalobese bhese jete pare muhurte..aar porer muhurtei ghure daray abar…bari fire achre pore bichana-e..jader beche thakar golpo bichana jane, balish jane, jane kolghorer deyal-e lepte thaka joler daag-gulo”, declared her Facebook status post-performance.

Debasish Ghoshdastidar (the director) attempts a pictographic representation of the narrative. “The narrative incorporates several flashbacks, so I’ve solely exploited the colours black and white. Silence, lights and shadows have been utilized to an extreme extent as a language for expression”, said Debasish Ghoshdastidar in a telephonic conversation. The portrayal of the police inspector (courtesy: Tarashankar Chakraborty for voiceover and Tanmoy Ghosh for shadowgraphy) needs an obvious mention. His presence is being superbly portrayed exploiting the concept of shadowgraphy and the mannerism in his dialogues while encountering the narrator has left countless enthralled.

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Music in this apparent-autobiographical narrative engages into a significant role. Mitul Dutta’s musical renditions are an extension of her poetical recitals and dramatic movements. The visibility of her accompanying musicians (Pradip Chakraborty, Sudipta Biswas, Subrata Basu) playing live on stage will undoubtedly impress quite a number of spectators. In a moment of flashback Mitul Dutta’s rendition of ‘ami rup-e tomay bholabo na, bhalobasa-e bholabo’ attaches a special dimension to the narrative.
The dream sequence where the narrator on stage envisions twenty-two masked couples engaged in an action of sexual-intercourse had made an impact on Tanima Das, a fellow spectator (on November 27, 2012), specially Mitul Dutta’s utterance of “nana rokomer nissoron..lala, gham, thutu, birjo, rokto, emonki mathar ghiluo chitke ese lagche amar borkha-e…”. The use of language in this particular sequence and the manner of rendition stirred and amazed Tanima.
Hiran Mitra (the stage designer) at the conclusion of performance (on May 21, 2013) said, “Sometimes we attempt to portray every minute detail of the script on stage; like, while mentioning the blue sky we focus a blue light on stage. However for Kuhokini Kotha, we have discarded any other colour concentrating only on white and black, allowing the audiences a scope to exploit their imaginative faculty”.
Moments that are sure to linger hours after witnessing the performance might include; Mitul Dutta’s utterances of ‘kothay palabe kuhokini? dupash-e media jholsa-e, tarcheye neme eso aaj ei hajamoja kobita-e’, ‘amar sei ondhokar, sei oruup-er din-e, rabithakur-er gaan-er kol-er modhye mukh guje kandte kandte, ami bhalobasa-e bholate chaichilam tomake, mone pore?’, ‘aalokborsho periye gelo tomay jante jante, amar sondhyebela-r dike tomay tene aante’ and ‘aaynar samne unmadini praay nijer chul sushni shag-er moto chirte chirte ami to ontoto ekbar rakhbo-i sei nirdosh aar nirbish proshno, ‘poramukhi moron nei tor?’’; her renditions of ‘parchina ami parchina bhabte, amar kopale emon mrittu chilo’, ‘tor kanna amar amay dis, tor shorir bhora bish, ami badhbo kono gaan, aay brishti aay snan’, ‘ami kandbona tumi harale, jani firbei tumi dhorbei haat muhurte haat barale’ (the song ‘tomar jonne dhorechi baji, nouko-e naao amake majhi go..’) and ‘nodi-tar naam mone nei, jomuna-i hobe bodhhoy’.