Dakshinee, courtesy of P.C. Chandra Garden recently organized a musical play of Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore titled “Phalguni” at Maple Lawn of P.C. Chandra Garden.
Tagore had written “Phalguni”, his unique allegorical play to transcend the fear and pain of death, in 1915. He produced the play in 1916 in the aid of the drought-ridden people of Bankura. Interestingly, the format of the play is that of a musical where the characters switch over to spontaneous songs in the midst of prose dialogues. A group of youth undertakes an adventure to capture the ‘old one’ who represents death and decay. The plot involves an intriguing mystery which is solved at the joyous climax. This play is not too well-known to the audience. From the 50’s the drama wing of Dakshinee has been producing this play not only in Kolkata but also in several cities of India, including Santiniketan. To commemorate the centenary of the founder of Dakshinee, Late Suvo Guha Thakurta, “Phalguni” was produced under the direction of Tagore researcher and singer Sri Debashish Raychaudhuri, who is also a specialist in Tagore’s plays. He has been directing this play since the eighties. The Kolkata audience enjoyed this intriguing colourful and vibrant musical play in the ambience of natural surroundings!
Dakshinee was founded in 1948 by Sri Suvo Guha Thakurta with the blessings of Rathindranath Tagore and Sailajaranjan Majumdar. It had Subinoy Roy, Suchitra Mitra, Sunil Kumar Roy and Kamala Basu among the first batch of teachers. Suvo Guha Thakurta, a young, ardent devotee of Rabindrasangeet, used to frequent soirees held at Santiniketan and at the Brahmo Samaj, from the age of eighteen. His close association with Indira Devi Choudhurani, Sailajaranjan Majumdar, Kanika Bandopadhyay, Arundhati Devi led to numerous lessons in Rabindrasangeet under the tutelage of the first two. Sailajaranjan had once expressed to Suvo about Tagore’s lament that his music was increasingly getting limited to Santiniketan and the Brahmo Samaj, and not reaching the wide audience it deserved to do. Sailajaranjan expressed a wish to Suvo that some measure is taken whereby Rabindrasangeet could be brought to the Bengali masses. Henceforth committed to the cause and determined to see results, Suvo, after a few years of struggle, founded Gitabitan on 8th December 1941 at a rented house in Bhowanipore. In no time it was flourishing as a Rabindrasangeet institution. However, due to differences in opinion regarding its functioning, Suvo Guha Thakurta dissociated himself from it in 1947 and founded Dakshinee on 8th May 1948, at 132, Rashbehari Avenue, Calcutta (now Kolkata), India. Exclusively practising and upholding Tagore music as a pure and high form of art, and imbibing and spreading a love for it in the hearts of people, especially in the face of diverse influences, remains till date, the expressed ideology of Dakshinee. Dakshinee took off with only 12 students on its rolls and by 1955 had 600. It moved into its current premises at 1, Deshapriya Park West on 16th Oct. 1955 ceremonially inaugurated by Smt. Chitralekha Siddhanta, better known as the ‘Nightingale of Bengal’ at the time. Dakshinee’s dance section named ‘Nrityakala Kendra’ was founded in 1950 with Smt. Seba Mitra as in-charge, at the junction of Lansdowne Road and Jatin Das Road. From its very inception Dakshinee had four functioning sections viz. the School, Dramatic, Cultural and Publication sections.