Saturday, December 1, 2012

Company Ustaad is a musical about music and principles

The fifth and the last day of the 19th National Theatre Festival was really unique. The play – Company Ustad – was staged in front of an almost full house. This play marked Nirman Kala Manch’s five perfomances over the last two decades in the festival. For the first time, the director Sanjay Upadhyay, was absent during a performance at Raigarh.

Company Ustaad is based on the life of Mahendra Mishra, who was a poet full of patriotism. This was during the English rule of India. He was a singer, a poet and was often misunderstood and made fun of in his own society – of bramhins. They used to call him Company Ustaad. He left his town to settle down at Calcutta, and that too in Sonagachi – the red light area. There begins the story of ‘Company Ustaad’. He teaches Sonabai – a courtesan and dancer by profession – his music and songs. She falls in love with those permanently. But Company is arrested by the British Police for treachery and tried at the court. By the time he comes out of the prison, he finds out that Sonabai is dead.

The play is a musical, it uses music to narrate its story. The evergreen music by Sanjay Upadhyay
leaves no scope for a viewer to not tap their feet to the rhythm he creates. Suman Kumar in his unparalleled acting for the character of Company Ustaad leaves you with a heavy throat. The amazing choreography of the play lifts this old tale and gives it a new look and feel, making sure its essence remains the same.

This play reveals a very important chapter of history. It is like going back to an era, and staying there for two hours and almost living it.

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