The play ‘Helen’ was staged to a full house at Rabindra Bhawan in Guwahati on Monday evening. Inaugurating the play, Jahanara Begum, a renowned theatre artiste of Assam said, “I am an ardent admirer of the Wings Theatre Group especially because they are encouraging the young artistes of the State and hence I have come to watch this play with great expectations. I have a special affinity to Kismat Bano, who at a very young age, has attained so much that is difficult for most of us working in the theatre for many years.”
There are five main characters in the play. The story centres on Bano, playing the role of Helen, who is born with severe medical problems and grows up into a visually impaired and differently abled girl. Her father and mother are concerned about her tantrums but do not know what to do about it. There is a doctor who is their neighbour who treats Helen on a regular basis but cannot bring any noticeable change in her upbringing. A teacher, who herself is blind, is engaged at this juncture, and within a month’s time is able to metamorphose Helen into a caring and decent spinster.
Kismat Bano hardly has any dialogue in this play. It’s her expressions and gestures that take her performance to great heights and there are several moments in the play when the audience finds their eyes are moist because of the emotion she is able to stir in their hearts. Undoubtedly, Kismat, in her role as Helen, steals the show.
Doli Devi as teacher carries on her role with confidence as pride. Sana Bano as Helen’s mother and Jyotishman Sharma as father have done full justice to their roles. Rupjyoti Deka, as the doctor-friend-neighbour meets the expectations of the audience to the full. The child artistes Afreen Ali, Asma Khatun, Saif Ali, and Sameera Khatun had a brief presence on the stage but were able to draw the attention of the audience to their performance.
Kismat Bano, besides acting as Helen, also took care of direction, scripting and designing the costumes and sets of the play. This shows what a calibre of drama enthusiast she is. This play of hers has been staged at different cities both in India and abroad to the jubilation of theatre lovers everywhere.
The play which had a duration of 50 minutes had Kaushik Borbora taking care of its lighting and Diku its music.
It may be mentioned here that Kismat Bano established her own theatre troupe Wings Theatre (Cultural Group) in Guwahati under the Act XXXI of 1860 NO RS/KAM (M) 263/G/686 of 2013-2014 at her own residence. Initially Wings’ focus was exclusively on performances, but gradually there was a need to diversify its activities. As a response to this requirement and in the greater interest of Assamese Theatre, it was felt that young artistes and differently abled that are important part of the society should encouraged with their activities in the cultural arena. Consequently, the number of activity with young artistes and differently abled children’s was increased through various new initiative of the Group. Kismat Bano’s efforts got recognition of the Sangeet Natak Akademi when they granted her a scholarship to carry on with her work on the stage.