Sima Mukhopadhyay: Let’s not treat Theatre as instant coffee

Posted by Kaahon Desk On August 19, 2018

Sima Mukhopadhyay is currently one of the most prominent and distinguished faces in Kolkata Theatre. She has made a name for herself as one of the most sought-after female director working today. Mukhopadhyay hails from a family directly acquainted with theatre practice and after her marriage she got encouragement from her husband’s family too. She holds a Master’s Degree in Drama (Acting) from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata. In 2002 she received Senior Fellowship from H.R.D, New Delhi. She epitomises the concept of multiple virtues enmeshed into a single being. She’s not only a director par excellence, she also possesses equal prowess in acting and writing. As an actress, she has worked in all major theatre groups of Kolkata including Sanglaap Kolkata, Chetana, Gandhar, Anya Theatre, Paschim Banga Natya Akademi, Rangroop and Pancham Vaidic.
As a playwright, Sima Mukhopadhyay has written 12 full length plays including Bikalpa (1989), Bhanga Boned (1992), Je Jan Ache Majhkhane (1995), Aaborto (1999) and Shunyapat (2000) to name a few. She has also written 6 one-act dramas. On the direction front, she has directed seventeen full-length dramas including Boli (1994), Je Jan Ache Majhkhane ( 1995), Shunyapat (2001), Maayer Moto (2010)  and Chhayapath ( 2014).

When asked if she prefers to be identified as a ‘female director’ instead of just ‘director’, she speaks her mind about her views on gender composition. She talks about patriarchy and reflects upon the role of institutionalized women in carrying forward patriarchy. We get to know an interesting point of view from her about gender roles and functions. She is not bothered about people’s perception of her as she’s more concentrated in her work. She sternly protests against the consumerism and feelings of instant gratification that has grappled people of today. She firmly believes that substance speaks before showoff. History will only remember the true artists, similarly how she remembers two-three specific plays and performances on stage even after so many years.

In the beginning of the adda with Kaahon, Sima Mukhopadhyay rolls back the years to take us back to her starting point. She revisits her childhood when after a sudden turn of events she first landed as younger Nimai in a play called Shri Krishna Chaitanya. She recounts her childhood, which was spent among superstars and legends of the art. She takes us through all the steps and events in her life that shaped her professional and personal life. She met her husband during a production of the theatre group, Rangroop which she is still working with. She talks about her husband’s family. She’s still in awe with the fact that she got the opportunity to work with many stalwarts of the theatre world in her yesteryears. She traces back the events that forced her into writing plays and directing them. She’s forever indebted to her seniors for teaching her the nuances of theatre as an art medium. Finally, she talks about the special factor that sets apart her Rangroop form other theatre groups.

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