Sometimes this happens. This happens every now and then. You call it nostalgia, cherishing memories! Or call it a perfumery spreading fragrance all around. Sometimes this happens… when the human characters are blended in that smell in such a way that one could hardly feel anything else! The mise-en-scene gets enlivened in front of your eyes; your senses get assimilated in the play.
“Tomar Aami”- the newest production of Ganakrishti, succeeds to infuse such an arresting perfume throughout. You smile unknowingly, a plop of tears go down, that too unknowingly. It becomes a complete trip with the simple stagecraft, background, performances, a warm feeling leaving behind.
An educated middle-aged man, named Ajit, runs a bookstore started by his grandfather. But he has a conservative approach towards life, towards books, towards the way of running a traditional business and everything else. And a young girl, Maya is a dweller of a slum, not very well educated, foul-mouthed, but she has an unearthly passion for books. She wants to grasp her inner self and does believe only books can help her out there. So she joins Ajit’s shop as a sales girl. Because that will give her a chance to spend the day with books surrounding her. There are the only three characters in the play, more accurately two humane characters and Books, the spinal cord of the story!
And there, the books, the letters both written and un-written, the words spoken and unspoken actually hook the spectators to the live visuals. It’s the context of the ocean of black, little characters bound in hard or soft covers- whom we lovingly call books, play the actual mind-game, the game of emotions, tears, nostalgia! And there the play becomes watchable, enjoyable.
Ajit and Maya have conflicts due to difference in thinking. They belong to two distinctively different strata of the society. But where books connect hearts, nothing else really should matter. And so Ajit finally surrenders to Maya’s passion and permits her to manage the shop and run it in the way she wants. Debshankar Haldar (here Ajit) of late has become an inseparable part of almost all significant Bengali theatre productions, which sometimes becomes a tiring thing to watch. But not to like his performance especially here, in a middle-aged bookseller’s character, will be a criticism for criticism’s sake only. Bindiya Ghosh manages to deliver a commendable performance, especially in the second half. In the first half though, her accents are a bit too imposed. The body language of a slum-girl is not very tactfully etched. So, the first half of the play seems to be dragged, whereas in the next half, the chemistry of the two evolves to create a matured ending.
Above all, Evald Flisar’s ‘Take me into your hands’ takes complete Bengali attire in this theatre production. College Street boi-para blends with Slovenian origin. And then again, the spirit of living with books glorifies an evening.