Director: Sima Mukhopadhyay
Playwright: Girish Karnad
Adaptation: Shankho Ghosh
Group: Rangroop, Kolkata
Language: Bengali
Duration: 2 hrs 20 mins

The Play

Basavanna, the poet and philosopher, founded the Sharan Sangha. The Sangha dreams of a society without discrimination, endorses holistic co-habitation rising above all caste-economic-religious-traditional differences. Its social consequence leads to a lot of bloodshed and religious violence in the city of Kalyan. Neither Basavanna’s farsightedness nor the King’s generosity could prevent the terrible barbarity. All possibilities are completely nullified. He sets off afresh in his search for the ultimate and to look for sources of light for the future.


Director’s Note

I never set out for a pilgrimage. I find my temples on both sides of the road

– Rabindranath Tagore

About seven hundred and fifty years earlier, in the mid-twelfth century, the saint-poet Basavanna had expressed similar ideas through his life and teachings. Basavanna, founder of the Lingayat community and a Shaiviite, could convince his followers that God dwelt among the humans who toiled hard in every sphere of life. The philosophy of work-as-power was known as Kayak, and those who believed in it were known as Sharans. This is how a vast community of Sharans, irrespective of caste, came into place. They fought against casteism and preached gender equality. Predictably, the Brahmins were enraged. The patronizing royal Bijjwal could no longer support Basavanna and was himself murdered. Basavanna died in 1168 AD. His death was preceded by a blood bath in the city of Kalyan. Karnad describes this event in his play. In the foreword of the Hindi version Karnad narrates how the Sharans were consumed by terror and violence and the entire city of Kalyan became a pool of blood. Rakta Kalyan as a theatre production attempts to analyze the relevance of the play in contemporary times.


The Director

Sima Mukhopadhyay (recipient of the Senior Fellowship from Ministry of Culture in 2002) is an accomplished actor and playwright. Mrs. Mukhopadhyay has been leading Rangroop since 1994 and directing several successful productions that have earned rave reviews from critics and audience. She has received several awards including the prestigious Ritwik Ghatak Smriti Puraskar in 2000 as the best playwright and awards as best actress conferred by Paschimbanga Natya Academy.


The Playwright

Girish Raghunath Karnad is an Indian actor, film director, Kannada writer, playwright and a Rhodes Scholar, who predominantly works in South Indian cinema and Bollywood. He is a recipient of the 1998 Jnanpith Award, the highest literary honour conferred in India.  He was conferred Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.


The Group

Rangroop is an assembly of scholars, teachers and professors, doctors, psychologists, painters and musicians. It was established in 1969, under the directorship of Sri Goutam Mukherjee and later under the directorship of Mrs. Sima Mukhopadhyay. Rangroop has been active in contemporary theatre for fifty years and has emerged as one of the most potential and formidable theatre groups of Kolkata in recent times, especially in the last 25 years.


Cast & Credits

Basavanna                     Jayanta Mitra

Bijjwal                           Jagannath Chakraborty

Jagadev                         Kinjal Nanda

Sobidev                                               Ananyasankar               Debabhuti

Madhubaras                   Debabrata Bhattacharya

Mallibomma                  Sounava Bose

Manchanna                    Debasis Chattopadhyay

Sharan 1                        Asok Dasgupta

Kaloiya                          Subrata Majumder

Shastri                           Asish Bhaumik

The Brahmin                 Partha Pratim Mukherjee

Aged Sharan                  Achyut Prosad Ghosh

Sepoi                             Chandan Ghatak

Shilvanta’s Father          Avijit Dutta

Damodar                       Apurba Saha

Sharan 2                        Asit Bandopadhyay

Sharan 3                        Sreekanta Dutta Gupta

Sharan 4                        Supurna Ganguly

Shilvanta                       Arkapol Talukdar

Kotrappa                       Kanailal Patra

Kalappa                         Rishav Bhattacharya

Amba                            Mamata Banerjee

Ganga                            Aparna Dhar

Rangabba                      Vaswati Chakraborti

Shilvanta’s mother         Jayati Basu Roy

Indrani                           Anwesa Bandopadhyay

Sharan Lady                  Aishwarya Bannerjee

Irabba                            Sukla Dasgupta

Kalavati’s Mother          Sudeshna Dasgupta

Indrani’s Companion     SK Nasrin

Rambhaboti                   Susmita Pan

Bhagirathi                      Dipali Adak

Light                                Badal Das

Light Assistance              Deepak Halder, Prasanta Das

Make-up                          Bablu Mondal

Music                               Gouriprasad Nanda

Music Display                  Sanjoy Das

Set Design                        Sandipsuman Bhattacharya

Set Making                       Madan Halder

Shifting in-charge            Sajal Kanti Bagchi

Choreography                  Somnath Dutta

Photography                    Asim Pal

Costume                          Tulika Das

Costume in-charge          Yuthika Ghosh

Playwright                    Girish karnad

Adaptation                      Shankho Ghosh

Direction                         Sima Mukhopadhyay

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