The two-day Wings Theatre Festival in Guwahati concluded on Wednesday with the staging of the play “Padmapriya” by Pakija Begum. This was followed by award of Dr Arun Sarma Samman to Pakija Begum. The chief guest on the occasion was Padmashri Eli Ahmed, noted litterateur of Assam.
Speaking on the occasion, Eli Ahmed stressed on the importance and significance of art and culture in the society. She said there will invariably decay in the society and loss of values if free expression through arts is not encouraged by the government and the people.
The newly instituted Arun Sarma Samman was handed over to Pakija Begum who in 1995 had established ‘BA’, a cultural organisation, in Guwahati. Pakija has authored a book of children’s plays titled Xarudhemali Bardhemali. She was awarded the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar of Sangeet Natak Akademi for the year 2010 for her talent in the field of theatre as an actor.
Needless to mention that Dr Arun Sarma, in whose memory and honour the new award has been instituted was a renowned writer of Assam. He was one of Assam’s contemporary playwrights and particularly known for his unconventional plays with some elements of drama. Besides drama, he also authored over six novels detailing the Assamese way of life. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2010 in recognition of his contributions to Assamese literature.
A mini theatre hall, unique in many ways, with a capacity of 75, and set up by upcoming theatre prodigy Kismat Banu was inaugurated by mime expert Mainul Hoque earlier on Tuesday. Two plays, Bidhyabalan (Assamese) directed by Naren Patgiri and Bade Bhaisahab (Hindi) directed by Dilip Khanal were staged on the inaugural day of the theatre festival.
Sibananda Kakoti, a noted writer and dramatist of Assam, who also spoke at the inaugural function informed the audience that while Kalaguru Bishnu Rabha was hiding to escape from the dragnet of Police had spent many years in the same area where the new mini theatre has come up. Thus, he remarked, “This mini theatre is actually a tribute to the Kalaguru and will help spread the love for theatre for which Rabha lived his whole life.”
Thanking all artistes involved in the theatre festival and the audience present, Kismat Bano announced that she will train the youngsters of the State in the art of theatre at her mini theatre hall, and hold shows at regular intervals for creating awareness and love for theatre among the people in the area.