Rabijita Gogoi’s engagement with bringing contemporary Assamese amateur theatre to the sensibilities of a relatively urban audience is indeed a journey to be captured. When I received her online invitation to be part of the opening of her new studio at House No 15, Satya Nath Bora Lane, Dighalipukhuri, I was pleasantly surprised. Usually November 14 is a day for commemorating the birth anniversary of our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru nationally as Children’s Day. But this time we saw a difference in the occasion. Studio Jirsong was inaugurated on the birth anniversary of eminent literary stalwart from Assam late Prof. Indira Goswami whose life remains an inspiration for many.
The august gathering for the opening comprised of theatre artists, musicians, writers, newspaper and magazine editors, friends, family and well-wishers of Jirsong Theatre. Artist K. K. Das, Dadul Chaliha, Monoj Roi, Minakshi Buragohain, filmmaker Sanjeev Sabhapandit, Hemonta K. Das, actors like Urmila Mahanta, Mintu Baruah, Mina Ingti, singers like Rupam Bhuyan, Rashmi Saikia, Prabin Saikia and eminent writers like Sabita Lahkar and Mukul Kalita graced the occasion with their presence. Renowned filmmaker and director of many award-winning films, Dr Santwana Bordoloi graced the occasion and lit the inaugural lamp along with Shri Kiron Shankar Rai another eminent theatre enthusiast. After the invocation song by Priyamboda Biyogi Saikia from Ministry of Culture, rich floral and poetry tributes were offered to our dear Mamoni baideu by members of the audience. Dr Santwana Bordoloi shared her experience of knowing Mamoni Baideu closely while making the film Adhajya based on Mamoni Raisom Goswami’s novel ‘Dotal Hatir Uieye Khuwa Haoda’. She shared her memories of Mamoni Baideu’s simplicity and generosity. She also shared how they went together for a programme and appreciated her stunning presence during the function where she engaged with Ramcharit Manas in Sanskrit with great ease.
Henceforth, Rabijita Gogoi introduced Studio Jirsong and its idea of inception to all of us present. Studio Jirsong is a platform for theatre lovers, practitioners and amateur artists to engage with diverse forms of theatre professionally under the guidance and supervision of Rabijita Gogoi and her team of theatre educationists from across the world. Rabijita Gogoi has taught theatre set designing which was her specialisation at National School of Drama from where she graduated. She has made some recent plays like Baagh, Maya, Iti Mrinalini and many more where she has created some remarkable sets. Amateur theatre in Assam has evolved over the centuries yet it has not received mass appeal like other forms of performing arts like mobile theatre, music and dance forms. Rabijita believes that Studio Jirsong can bridge the gap for people to learn, share, engage in the journey of professional theatre, creative art forms and theatre set designing.
There are three months certificate courses which will be conducted at this space in the years to come. Rabijita Gogoi’s mother, Sabitri Gogoi also thanked the audience and well wishers of Studio Jirsong and shared her happiness with great humility about her children’s initiatives. The programme was closed with a musical medley of folk and contemporary instrumental presentation by two young artists Gautam Saikia and Bedanta Borpatra. Their semi-classical chords and drum beats on local folk instruments like tokari, xutuli and khul created a new genre of local fusion. It was indeed a memorable evening filled with music, laughter, memories of journeys of three eminent women in Assam in the fields of literature, cinema and theatre. Studio Jirsong promises to bring together such personalities and create many more connoisseurs of theatre, art, music and dance forms.