Bharati Mitra & Tagore Music Group of Washington Spellbind Capacity Audience with Chhobi - A Musical


Video: A pre-production preview cut of "Chhobi - The Musical"

Bengali Musical Production CHHOBIGermantown, Maryland, June 26, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) On Sunday June 24, 2012, The Tagore Music Group of Greater Washington DC, lead by Bharati Mitra (interview) of Gaithersburg presented CHHOBI - A Musical to a mesmerized capacity audience at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown. The performance showcased an innovative collaboration between the Tagore Music Group and students of the Natyabhoomi School of Dance of Bethesda which is lead by Deepti Naville. Deepti teaches the Indian classical Bharatnatyam dance form while her sister Shruthi Mukund teaches fusion dance at Natyabhoomi.

Chhobi is adapted from a short story by iconic Bengali writer Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay set in Burma (Myanmar). The musical production stands out for successfully and seamlessly blending in songs by another Bengali icon - Rabindranath Tagore, and Burmese folk dances to the script as well as the general air of authenticity by using Burmese dresses and music. Shruthi Mukund of Natyabhoomi deserves kudos for successfully studying and learning Burmese folk dance from videos on the internet, choreographing and teaching her students all in a short time with impressive results on stage.

Chhobi (The Painting) is a romance-drama about young lovers Ba Thwinn (Kamal Ahmed Tushar) and Ma Shwaye (Subarna Thakur). Ba Thwinn is born into debt and Ma Shwaye into prosperity. Their fathers were best friends and the lovers appear all set to get married and live happily forever, but Ba Thwinn - an artist - resolves to repay the debt he inherited while Ma Shwaye is courted by a champion horse racer and things go downhill. The eyes and ears of the audience of the musical continued to be glued to the stage as subsequent events unfolded with an ultimately happy ending.

While the audience was being given a taste of what is to come in the form of a couple of remarkable Indian Classical Bharatnatyam dance interpretations of Rabindrsangeet by students of the Natyabhoomi School, sound director Aloke Roy (who also essayed the role of Gyi Lin who commissions a painting from Ba Thwinn) was seen discussing the sound design and mixing with the staff of BlackRock. Native Burmese music started to float out of Aloke's laptop and the speakers in the auditorum setting the mood and soon the performance commenced.

The audience spent the next hour and a half in a dream world with Rabindrasangeet, Dialogue, Dances and Music and a judicious selection of projected backdrop images with Biswajit Sen in control of the lights. There is no question the simple love story portrayed in the unique way conceived by Bharati Mitra left everyone touched - we all escaped into an alternate reality for a couple of hours and smiled and wept with Ba Thwinn and Ma Shwaye that evening.

Photo: Sumandra Mitra

Chhobi - A Musical

Actors:

  • Ba Thwin: Kamal Ahmed Tushar
  • Ma Shwaye: Subarna Thakur
  • Po Thwin: Shantanu Bagchi
  • Than Lin: Probal Bandopadhyay
  • Ba Kow: Sunil Kundu
  • Gyi Lin: Aloke Roy
  • Old Man: Sarbajit Sinha
  • Ma Shwaye’s relatives and friends: Archana Bhattacharya, Shreeya Choudhury, Swati Choudhury, Soma Mukherjee, Sohini Sen Roy, Sahana Sen Roy, Shreya Naville.

Musicians:

  • Keys: Sudebi Roy
  • Percussion: Debapriya Nayak
  • Harmonium: Sumanta Mukherjee
  • Mandira: Bharati Mitra

Narrators:

  • Rana Sinha
  • Soma Mukherjee
  • Swati Choudhury

Singers:

  • Nandita Bagchi
  • Shantanu Bagchi
  • Sikha Bhar
  • Chaitali Bhattacharya
  • Sunil Kundu
  • Bharati Mitra
  • Soma Mukherjee,
  • Sumanta Mukherjee: Ba Thwin’s songs
  • Kamalakshi Pal
  • Sahana Sen Roy: Ma Shwaye’s songs
  • Sohini Sen Roy
  • Rana Sinha

Dancers (from Natyabhoomi School of Dance)

  • Nirupa Balendran
  • Mythily Gunarathnam
  • Thulasi Gunarathnam
  • Shreya Naville
  • Ruchi Mathur
  • Thaara Shankar
  • Pritha Thiruvallur

Dancer Director

Shruthi Mukund

Lighting,stage, set design & management

Biswajit Sen

Sound Director

Aloke Roy

Drama Director

Bharati Mitra

Master of Ceremonies

Nandita Dasgupta




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