Salesman er Songsar – ‘Death of a salesman’ once again brilliantly acted on Bengali stage

Posted by Kaahon Desk On May 10, 2019

A play directed and produced by Anjan Dutta; ‘Salesman er Songsar’. A play about a salesman is bound to remind all Academy of Fine Arts centered Bengali theatre lovers about the famous American modern tragedy ‘Death of a salesman’ by famous playwright Arthur Miller. Almost all of them have watched the Bengali adaptation of the play ’Feriwalar Mrityu’ produced by Nandikar. This play has been staged by various groups of different strength at different times around the world. The popularity of this play notwithstanding the resistance of time is characterized by its content which can never lose its relevance. This play Salesman er Songsar is also inspired by ‘Death of a salesman’ but in no sense a mere Bengali adaptation.

It is evident from the name that the director unfazed by the death of the salesman is more interested about his household (although the director had mistakenly announced it as ‘Salesman er Mrityu’ʼ). A household is not very different from ours, made of dreams and annihilated by reality. Death of a salesman’s theme is the American Dream. The dream that was born around the second world war heaped by the consumers, accompanied by aggression and arrogance, a continual thirst to obtain the good, the better, and the best; turned into an addiction, and an unavoidable fatal ending of frustration. As you might have guessed, the relevance of the play still stands unaltered.

Previous Kaahon Theatre Review:

We are introduced again with the dream-chaser Willy Lowman, with a dream of becoming a successful salesman. He was once a successful salesman also; respected by his clients; invaluable in office. He desired the job of salesman more than the prospect of self-employment through his father’s carpentry business. He wanted his two sons to be the most successful salesmen. But he wasn’t still aware of the dark side of the capitalism. They were unaware how the consumerism has corrupted their ethical standings as humans. Unavoidably the time has turned him into an unwanted ill-treated salesman gathering dust on the corner like a discontinued coin. With his physique has disintegrated his ability to earn, his respect in the household, and his value in workplace. But willy is unable to reconcile with the failure. His sons have by now become the perfect fruits of Capitalism and Consumerism. They don’t know how to work, they have no idea about the perfect ratio of mixture of effort and earnestness required to succeed in life. What do they know about success anyway? Capitalism has altered the definition of success. They only know money, the equate everything with wealth, they have never developed the habit of looking at things closely. The salesman’s household begins to decompose gradually. But Willy is willing to make one last try, he plans to sell his death successfully. He plans to pass his suicide as an accident, fooling the insurance company in the process. He hopes that this last sell will save his household set on a course of destruction, he feels it to be his duty towards his children.

Willy Lowman never really recognizes that who he is representing in this relentless battle will defeat him one day. His fall will be only from the tallest floor he’s ever built. Death of a salesman and Salesman er Songsar truly becomes a modern tragedy. It’s not a play to life your spirits, it’s really sad and depressive, a representation of the fact that keeps recurring in our daily life.

Anjan Dutta in the role of Willy Lowman has acted brilliantly, fabulously and unthinkably (it isn’t possible to express in one word). Willy’s helplessness, anger, rage, love, ambition, and most importantly failure has been portrayed so brilliantly that it begs the question whether someone else could have done it any better? The other actors including Sudipa Basu have also acted beautifully, but Anjan Dutta is 100 miles ahead of them.

From lighting to stage design; everything is conjectural to this play. Anjan Dutta’s plays raise the bar of expectation when it comes to music. Frank Sinatra’s ‘now the end is near’ has been used indicatively to add a different dimension to this play.

Salesmaner Songsar- ‘Death of a salesman’ once again brilliantly acted on Bengali stage

But even after all the bitter questions keep coming back. Why are there no original plays in Bengali theatre? Anjan Dutta could have written a new play himself, he’s abled enough for that. Why would we have to watch the overly acted ‘Death of as salesman’ again and again? Maybe be this can account for the less footfall in the theater even in such a well built and well performed play. The subject is undoubtedly relevant, but classics are supposed by relevance at all times, but why should that hinder the path of original dramas in Bengali? Is the director not aware that capitalism has evolved quite a bit in this 21st century specially now in 2019? More importantly… the backdrop of the play; America has also changed a lot in due course of time. No matter how much you try to elevate the play’s apparent relevance (originally written in 1949), it is also true that in that time America has also integrated different levels to its mass consciousness. We are still nurturing the same old plays, most of our theatre reviews have the term ‘inspired by’ or ‘adapted from’ before the name of the play. How will the theatre sustain if not it works on original plays? We feel very sad when the deserving able creators of our theatre do the same.


Ebong Ipsita
A Kolkata based theatre practitioner, she has been doing theatre from 2005 and now she is co-directing and adapting plays for different theatre groups in Bengal. She believes to explore the web medium as well to express herself to the world.

Translation: Harit Chowdhury


Related Updates


Follow Us

Show Calendar

Message Us