Art & Culture

‘Bongobongo’: A psychedelic journey along the border between Bengal

Tamalika Karmaker was mesmerizing on stage as Malini, a prostitute who loves a man from across the border: Facebook

Cultural Correspondent
Aranyak Natyadal’s non-linear play “Bongobongo” was staged at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy’s National Theatre Hall at 7pm on Thursday.
The psychedelic drama, written by Mamunur Rashid, hypothesizes what would happen if Rabindranath Tagore’s spirit returned to the border between Benapole in Bangladesh and Haridaspur of West Bengal. The Bengal delta was undivided before the death of the Nobel laureate, who has left numerous literary works that illustrate his love for this region.
The plot begins with snippets of life on each side of the border, depicting differences such as how the commerce is affected because of the different exchange rates on either side.
The play takes a romantic turn when it introduces the love between a prostitute called Malini and a smuggler named Raja who are from opposing sides of the border. Throughout the play, the two long to meet with each other, but are unable to do so because of the border.
Overall, the acting in the play was of stellar quality. Playwright Mamunur Rashid portrayed the role of police officer Bashanta Ray himself, and his acting was spot on in spite of clear signs of his age.
TamalikaKarmaker played the role of Malini with such perfection, that the audience’s eyes would be glued to her as soon as she entered the stage. Her performances of a number of Rabindrik songs were particularly magical.
Tamalika told the media : “I learned singing and dancing as a child, but I focused more on acting for my own career. I am using those old singing lessons to portray the character of Malini more completely. I think of Malini as someone who is full of life and loves to laugh.”

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