When renowned stage artist Shimul Yousuff descended from stage in an
uncanny silence performing the last scene of Chaka, many of about 5000
spellbound audience surrounded her. They were dipped in memoirs of the
deceased drama icon Selim Al Deen.
Selim Al Deen's play Chaka (Wheel) relates a harrowing tale of an
anonymous corpse that was compared with a state or life and needs to
be buried for peace. The cart-driver of Chaka, along with two
companions, started a journey to deliver the corpse. They carried it
to far flung cities and villages and none acknowledged it. The body
decomposes, rots, stinks - yet none agreed. Thus driven away from all
human destinations, the cart-men bury the dead on a dry riverbed. By
that time, the dead had already arisen in each of them.
Like cart-men, entire Puthia audience of Shimul Yousuff too kept
staring at her utterly flabbergasted for many minutes. Eminent
litterateur Hasan Azizul Haque aptly caught their thoughts and told
Shimul, "The more I see you, the more exquisitely you are blooming as
an artiste...What if Al Deen is no more, you (Shimul and Nasiruddin
Yousuff Bachchu) like Biswa Karma (god of pottery) must continue
keeping alive Selim's works".
Shimul Yousuff, also often called as Mancha Kusum (flower of stage)
performed parts of Kalindri character from Al Deen's Joiboti Konnar
Mon before staging Chaka to portray the 'new drama style of narrative
technique' Selim Al Deen evolved and popularised.
Joiboti Konnar Mon delves into women's psychology. Kalindri, a Hindu
artiste runs out of home to marry a Muslim fellow Alal and then
torments again when he developed religious fanaticism and hatreds for
artistry, music. Kalindri, however, declares the joy of artistry.
With the two, a total of seven plays were staged during a programme
held in memory of Al Deen at Puthia Rajbari ground, some 35km off
Rajshahi town on night of Saturday (February 9). Puthia Theater
organised it. A discussion was followed by a candle-lit procession --
a hundred theater activists walked around Puthia Rajbari dighi (pond)
with candles in hands.
Five theater troops from different districts staged parts from Selim
Al Deen's plays since the evening. Students of Rajshahi University
Dramatics and Music department performed Kirtonkhola, Govindagaj
Theater from Gaibandha staged Bason, Puthia Theater artists played
Sangbad Cartoon, Deviganj Theater staged Shokuntala and Joypurhat's
Shantinagar Theater staged Muntasir.
"Selim Al Deen used to visit Puthia as frequently as over 30 times in
last 20 years. Cultural minded people here are so fond of him they are
too much shocked at his death", said Puthia Theater conveynor Kazi
Sayeed Hossain Dulal reasoning holding of the programme.
Eminent drama director and founder of Dhaka Theater Nasiruddin Yousuff
Bachchu who directed most of Selim Al Deen's plays said, "Selim
realised the 200 years of colonial rule had detached us from our own
Bengali culture and so, he became the only playwright in Bangla
literature, after Rabindranath Tagore, for his blending of narratives
with typical Bengali traditions".