Sumit Chakraborty aka Babun looks back at the evolution of lighting techniques in Bengali theatre. The earliest innovations and thinking about light in Bengali theatre came with Satu Sen, working with Sisir Bhaduri. It was the first time theatre with all its elements became political. The next major development didn’t happen until the 1960s and 70s with stalwarts like Tapas Sen and Deepak Mukherjee putting in their skills and political motivations in their crafts. Babun elaborates how lights in theatre changed the very way one would engage with the idea of space itself. It had led to exciting results. However the serious practice somehow fizzled out and Bengali theatre has turned into a shallow exhibitionist entity. Apparently, everyone is concerned about decorations and nothing else! Speaking from his own experience he states that theatre has traditionally been an actor’s medium. The idea of a strong directorial position came much later and was soon reduced to what he calls ‘creative designer’. Mostly this attitude has to do with the unfortunate trend of emulating cinema. Babun is excited about working in performance arts precisely because it challenged the idea of a directorial position. Looking back at his experience of working with lights, he recalls the achievements of the legendary Tapas Sen and his innovations of follow light, which are still very much in use!
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