Didha – The Tale of Two Contrasting Sexagenarians

Our routine existence rarely provides us the prerogative to step aside and quietly observe life, commune or make new acquaintances. This in a way delineates self-isolation. Social media at times is helpful mitigating the solitude and so is our intent to commune with new people.

On a winter evening in the last week of January, Barrackpore Bratyajon staged their new play “Didha”, coined ‘Adda Theatre’ in the cozy ambience of “Tripti Mitra Natya Griha”.

Written and directed by Sudip Sinha the play accentuates our meandering lives in a transforming society dominated by the internet. At the heart of the story are two contrasting sexagenarians whose lives change as they intertwine with new acquaintances. Regulars at their early morning stroll at the Dhakuria lake they become besties – a retired school teacher with broader perspective of life and a retired banker, who is more conservative and off-limits to social media.

Sudip introduces a very simplistic storytelling, where the plot is revealed in layers. As the play progresses, Shantanu Nath as Pranabesh Sen and Sumanta Roy as Jayanta Chowdhury gradually build up a close connect with the audience delineating their characters unpretentious. Their strong enactment is immaculately supported by Nandini Roy’s composed portrayal of a painter, Kajol Murmu. Ananya Pal’s as Labanya Islam, however lacks the vibrancy of a frontman of a band. The sweet distinct dialect of Bangladesh would have added more texture to her character. Sudip’s use of Sandip Biswas as Mr. Next, a head bobbing youth, with no dialogues is brilliant. He exhibits his generation with ease, popping in at times and taking selfies. Diptyajit Roy Chowdhury, as Sinchan, Labanya’s coworker, mockingly called Nobita by Pranabesh has also scored the music for the play.

The set is minimal and seamlessly transforms from a park to a cafeteria and then the home of Pranabesh. Sudip Sinha has used the versatility of the characters imbibing them into their roles. Like Nandini is a painter in real life and Diptyajit a musician. The former paints while she acts, while the latter plays the guitar. As his first alternate space theatre “Didha” exhibits Sudip’s subtlety in handling the text and his directorial finesse.

“Didha” is a perfect studio theatre and will be widely appreciated by all age groups. Barrackpore Bratyajon, should experiment with different venues and take this production to more non-theatrical audiences.

Tamal Mukherjee12 February 2020