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Ritwik Ghatak: Five Plays

Ritwik Ghatak
Niyogi Books Private Limited
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Ritwik Ghatak perhaps remains the most celebrated auteur of Partition narratives—not only has he completed eight masterly feature films before his premature death, his brilliance and eccentrics also got reflected as a film-theorist, critic, author and a theatre writer-practitioner. In this collection of plays, his writings specifically act as a cultural sign bearing the remnants of one catastrophic history—the Partition of Bengal. Ritwik details the visual and aural realization of a fragmented Bengal in such a socio-political and cultural milieu of Indian history where we can trace both dystopian and utopian features. Plays like Dalil (translated as Charter), Sanko (translated as Communications) and few more are narratives that focus on the post-Independence socio-historical observations of the Indian subcontinent with a sustained critique of the impact of Partition and functioning of political malpractices in the lives of the refugees from East Bengal. Drawing from various sources, as disparate as folk music and Indian classical music, folk theatre as well as Indian classical dramaturgy, the Vedas, the Upanishads and mythology—Ritwik has portrayed the tragic predicament of the innumerable, hapless immigrants amalgamating the cultural richness with the social reality of that time.