Manipuri Theatre premieres ‘O Monpahia’

Cultural Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Dec 06,2019


A scene from ‘O Monpahia’. — Abdullah Apu

Theatre troupe Manipuri Theatre premiered ‘O Monpahia’ at National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Wednesday.

The play was staged on the sixth day of Nagorik Natya Sampradaya’s seven-day theatre festival ‘Notuner Utsab 2019’.

The play protests against ongoing mass killings of innocent people and destruction of biodiversity across the world. Besides, it portrays how nature takes its revenge.

‘O Monpahia’, a play in Manipuri language, has been directed and written by Subhasis Sinha.

The story of the play revolves around a poor farmer named Tamba who provided for his wife Kunja, autistic daughter Dhoni and his old father.

He cultivates land owned by others. However, the harvest suffers due to poor rain. The people of the village conduct rituals for rain but all their efforts go in vain.

One day Tamba starts digging a hole in hopes of finding underground water. Suddenly something falls from the sky. He rushes there and finds a strange looking wounded bird. He decides to take care of the bird and brings it home.

As the story moves forward the bird grows up into a beautiful creature. Tamba considers the bird as his own child. However, an influential person of the village offers Tamba money in exchange of the bird but a defiant Tamba refuses to sell it.

Soon the local people also become curious about the bird.

Another local girl named Phuleshwari appears in the story. She is a sex worker who loves Tamba. After Tamba’s wife Kunja becomes aware about Phuleshwari’s feelings for Tamba, she leaves with her daughter.

The bird starts comforting Tamba by singing songs. He goes to the field where his enemies throw a spear at him but Phuleshwari shields him and dies.

A heartbroken Tamba returns home and finds his house burning. The flames also claim the life of his beloved bird.

Tamba starts crying. He prays to the almighty for rain. Suddenly it starts raining non-stop. The rain causes flood which washes away the village. Many villagers including Tamba die in the flood.

The play ends with the soul of the deceased bird flying in the sky singing song of welfare.

Besides acting, the play features a beautiful combination of diverse Manipuri dances and songs.

Swarnali Sinha, Aruna Singa, Barun Singha. M R Kalim, Shyamoli Sinha and others acted in the play.

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