Stage prodigy Kismat Bano gets mini theatre built for city kids

NURUL ISLAM LASKAR

The upcoming stage prodigy from Guwahati, Kismat Bano, has gone beyond the call of duty and done what perhaps no artiste of her age has so far done in Assam. She has got a mini theatre hall built atop their residential house at Dhirenpara in the city, most of the funds coming from her regular savings, and her army contractor father Liaquat Ali contributing the rest. This mini theatre hall, with a capacity of 75, will enable her to train the neighbourhood children in the art of acting on one hand and arrange plays to be staged here, on the other hand, from time to time to promote theatre and theatre awareness in the city. The mini theatre hall will be inaugurated on Tuesday, March 6, during which two plays, Bidhyabalan (Assamese) directed by Naren Patgiri and Bade Bhaisahab (Hindi) directed by Dilip Khanal will be staged.

It may be mentioned here that Kismat Bano received the ‘Young Talents Artistes Award’ for the year 2016-2017 from the hands of PB Acharya, Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, at a colourful function that was hosted at the Raj Bhawan in Itanagar in July last year. The annual award was announced by the selection committee of the North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC) under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.

Kismat Bano, who earlier received a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, has in recent years performed in major drama festivals across the country as well as abroad. Two of her most recent plays staged in Guwahati and other cities of the country, ‘Helen’ and ‘Bano’, not only received appreciation from the theatre loving crowd everywhere but also critical approval from the press.

Kismat Bano, at a very young age, has already acted in over 25 plays in different languages- including Assamese and Hindi and these plays have been staged in many major cities of the country. To mention some of these plays: Aakaash, Madyhyabartini, Jatra, The lesson, Komala Kuwori, Helen, and Puhor. She has participated in different top drama events and festivals such as Bharat Rang Mahotsav, Nandikar, EZCC, Sangeet Natak Academy, Prithvi, Nehru Centre, PDA festivals, Kalakshetra Chennai, Octave festival (Goa and Rajasthan) and at Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival etc.

Kismat Bano established her own theatre troupe ‘Wings Theatre’ (cultural group) in Guwahati with a view to using theatre in education to children, working for spastic girls in association with Sishu Sarothi, India, conducting theatre performance-oriented workshops for orphan and indigenous girls in rural areas, and working with the blind children of Guwahati in promoting theatre among differently abled children.

In December 2016, Kismat and her team staged their play Helen at Shilpakal Auditorium in Dhaka, in the programme organised by ITI UNESCO & Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Kismat states, “Performing abroad has increased my eagerness to perform all over the world and now I am working on performances which I would organise in different countries around the world.”

In addition, Kismat has also completed a 40-day film making course in Pune under the supervision of Prof AS Kanal, former faculty of Film & Television Institute of India, Pune last year. Now she is working on the scripts of two documentaries that she plans to make in the coming months.

What is further praiseworthy about Kismat is that she has instituted an annual award titled “Padmashri Arun Sarma Samman” to be presented to an artist who has made an exceptional contribution to the field of theatre. The first award, this year, will go to Pakija Begum, who will stage her play ‘Padmapriya’ at Kismat’s mini theatre hall on Wednesday, March 7.

Nurul Laskar

Nurul Laskar

Nurul Islam Laskar was born in Shillong on June 18, 1950. A University topper and gold medallist, he joined the State Bank of India as a Probationary Officer in 1972. In 1976, Laskar was awarded the Rotary International Group Study Exchange Scholarship to visit on home stay in the state of Oklahoma USA. He was conferred Honorary Citizenship of Oklahoma during this visit. Laskar served as the Chief Manager (Public Relations & Community Services Banking) at SBI Local Head Office (North Eastern Circle), Guwahati during 1994-2002. He was recipient of Loyola College Chennai’s Mother Teresa Award for outstanding Community Service in 2001. In 2002, he took voluntary retirement from SBI and served as Consulting Editor, The Sentinel (English Daily) from 2002 to 2004 and as Executive Editor, Eastern Chronicle (National English Daily) from 2009 to 2014. Around this time, Laskar set up CABSFORD PR, the first public relations agency of North East India. Laskar is the first PR practitioner of North East to get a post graduate degree in Public Relations. He teaches PR at BCMJ, Cotton University, Guwahati and conducts PR workshops at various universities and institutes as a visiting lecturer. Presently, Laskar is the Chief Adviser, Public Relations Society of India (PRSI) Guwahati Chapter and Founder Director of ‘Learning & Promoting Public Relations’ (LAP-PR), an organisation to promote the practice of PR among the youngsters of North East. Besides, he is also the Director (Corporate Communication) at University of Science & Technology Meghalaya (USTM) and Honorary Director at Tangent Public Relations Guwahati.