Overview for Mareech: The Legend and Other Plays
Arun Mukherjeeâ€™s Mareech Sambad and Jagannath are highly popular plays in the theatre world of West Bengal. There are probably very few theatre goers in Calcutta, and in the district towns, who have not seen these plays, which have been performed through hundreds of well-attended nights. They have also been presented with success in Canada and the United States. Described as complex and intelligent theatre, these plays are political in the best sense of the word. As Himani Banerji says in her introduction, â€˜Never more than now did we need the stories of class and class struggleâ€”but told in a way that is worthy of the social and formative complexity, the elusiveness, the many-facedness of the concept of class. And it is here that Arun Mukherjee comes in with his two plays, which speak of class intelligently, with humour.â€™ Mareech Sambad, in particular, could be called a cult hit in the group theatre world of Bengal. It is a cleverly structured, intelligent, humorous look at the changing forms of exploitation through space and time, starting with the story of Mareech the demon from the Ramayana, taking in USAâ€™s Vietnam intervention, and coming down to the contemporary period. Jagannath, adapted from Lu Xunâ€™s Chinese tale â€˜The Story of Ah Qâ€™, ostensibly tells the tale of a simple peasant, but in the process examines and exposes the subtle ways in which centuries of hierarchical oppression mould the psyche of the oppressed. Arun Mukherjee is a playwright, director and actor who, with his group Chetana, has been an integral part of the group theatre scene in Calcutta for decades. Himani Banerjee, who has translated Jagannath and written the introductory essay, teaches in the Sociology Department at York University, Toronto. Her published works include collections of essays on Bengali theatre, feminism, Marxism and anti-racisim. Utkal Mohanty, the translator of Mareech Sambad, has other translations to his credit; he has also written lyrics and co-scripted a feature film. He is a founder-member of the Bangalore theatre group forum Three.
Arun Mukherjee (Author)
Arun Mukerjee was in the Indian Police Service (IPS) from 1956 till his retirement on 31 Dec, 1991 as the Director General of Police, West Bengal. He served as the DIG, Addl. Director and Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for about ten years and also briefly as the Special Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India (New Delhi). He is currently the Vigilance Commissioner of the Govt. of West Bengal. He received his Ph. D. from the University of Calcutta in 1988 and was invited in 1989 to take a seminar at the Institute of South Asian Studies of the Dept. of History of Heidelberg University on his case studies relating to scarcity and crime.
Himani Banerjee (Translator)
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Utkal Mohanty (Translator)
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