Folk-dramas based on Mamata`s rise hits in rural Bengal

Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee`s ascent to power capping a series of landmark movements organised by her party Trinamool Congress is now the theme of several `jatras` or folk-dramas which have become runaway hits in rural Bengal.

More than the mass leader`s dramatic political rise, her next-door-girl image and the promise of `paribartan` or change has captured the imagination of rural people, heads of several jatra companies said.

The names of the plays are as varied as the moods of Mamata: Banglar Masnade Mamata (Mamata on Bengal Throne), Banglar Kshamatay Ebar Mamata (Mamata in power now), Swapner Netri Mamata (the dream leader) are some of the names that have become very popular among the simple rural folks.

Ashok Dey, who wrote the script of `Banglar Masnade Mamata`, said, "It is the tale of a girl-next-door who metamorphoses into a fighter and a mass leader to win people`s heart."

He claimed that the play had evoked tremendous response whereever it had been staged.

Sita Ghosh, who plays the role of Mamata in the jatra, recalls how she feels awkward for being mistaken as the real `didi` by the simple folks.

"I am even approached by some to address their day-to-day problems at the end of the show," she said laughing.

For the production `Banglar Kshamatay Ebar Mamata`, the producers have been receiving at least 15-20 calls from the organisers this winter - the winter and spring being the ideal time to hold the plays.

Producer of the jatra K Bhattacharya said the play traced her political journey from 1984 when she defeated CPI-M heaveyweight Somnath Chatterjee in the Jadavpore parliamentary seat to her headlines grabbing movements in Nandigram and Singur.

The lead actor of the play, Ruma Chakraborty, said, "I have sought to portray the spartan life of `didi` here."

Chakraborty, whose physical similarity with Mamata clad in a simple dhaniakhali saree and hawai slippers, is remarkable, recollects how villagers took up the local development issue with her after the show and it was hard to explain she was only enacting a role.

Despite not having direct link to the firebrand leader, `Swapner Netri Mamata` is also drawing crowds in south Bengal districts, said its lead actor Mohua Bhattacharjee.

The very name Mamata itself spells wonder and awe in the rural areas as indicated by the titles of some jatras which have the leader`s name, but sans any link to her life story.

One example is `Maa Ache Mamata Nei` (This Mother has no kindness left) which despite being a routine family potboiler has become a success.


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