Colours of Sambalpuri drama (Part 1)

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Drama is the part of literature. Literature is the mirror of society. Drama is closer to reality of lives and so closer to the audience. Why will a person spend precious time in watching a drama if there is no benefit? If entertainment is the only reason of it then definitely this is a misconception.A person lives within society and society consists of persons.When someone lives a life it becomes eventful. It means life is a bunch of sweet,bitter events.Events,moments,situations influence life.Sometimes these individuals feel lonely and sometime feel proud to be part of this world.To keep the body,mind and heart healthy individuals find way through drama.

In this position drama becomes mode of entertainment.With entertainment a person can find a solution to his problems,away of living,the path of freedom,the art of presentation of personalities etc. So, it will not be correct to say that drama is only a  source of entertainment. If we journey through the dramas of different languages of the world we may find the same nature of the medium.Sambalpuri drama is not different from them.Though the life of Sambalpuri drama is just only of 60 years the characteristics of world theater can be found in it.

As per time Sambalpuri drama can be divided into three phase.Early (1957-1980),growing(1981-1996) and developing (1997 to till date).After several experiments in use of Sambalpuri language in different Odia dramas for the 1st time in the year 1957 a full-fledged Sambalpuri drama come to existence in the name of ‘Gountia Babu’.It was composed by Mishra brothers of Nanda Pada,Sambalpur.They are Siba Prashad Mishra, Krushna Prashad Mishra and Murari Prashad Mishra.Since 1957 to 2020 it is a time spam of 63 years. To reach the present stage Sambalpuri drama has journeyed through different routes.

Initially few dialogues were being composed in the drama of Odia dramatist like Aswini Kumar Ghose’s ‘Samleswari’, Kalicharan Patnaik’s ‘Hirakhanda’.Few comedy elements could be found in ‘Raet kana, kana paesi tor lagi mor jan jaesi’. Later on Mishra brothers put few Sambalpuri dialogues in their Odia drama ‘Pranaya Ballari’ in 1954 and in ‘Akbar Rai’ in 1955.Even if in 1st full-fledged Sambalpuri drama ‘Gountia Baba’ we can find traces of other languages like Odia,Berhampuri, Bengali, and Chhatishgarhi also. What may be reason behind this as Sambalpuri language is the main face of the drama we may not know. Since ‘GountiaBabu’ to Baishnaba Janato’s Sambalpuri dramas have been giving different flavour to the audience.

The main feature of the Sambalpuri drama is the presence of life. Audience find themselves very close to the theme of the drama.The tradition,the culture,way of life,folk elements,myth,legend,real picture of present times are the other important aspects of the drama of Sambalpuri language.The folk culture,lifestyle,behaviour,phrases,music,dance,rituals,customs,traditions,socio-economic and political scenario of a time reflect in these too, for instance in ‘GountiaBabu’ we can see the picture of a village life.The behavioural patterns of different group of the people of the village, economic condition, cultural status,the acceptance of poor by economically and educationally sound people.Indian villages have been controlled by Zamindar or headman.If they are positive towards their duty it was good for all.On the other hand if they don’t care for any one and only enjoy their power the entire village suffers.In ‘Gountia Babu’drama we will find a good headman who thinks about the villagers and gets engaged in development work for the people. Inspite of belonging to a rich family he doesn’t neglect his poor friends and his family and in dark time extends all supports.

Today Sambalpuri drama has reached a specific point, from where it looks as equal as other prosperous dramas of other languages inspite of several lacunas. People are crazy for Sambalpuri drama due to immense love for their mother tongue, to spread and give a structure to Sambalpuri language movement,to find solid way of enjoyment. An unseen magnetic power works to pull the people towards the proscenium theatre to watch Sambalpuri drama.The relevant and heart touching subject matter impresses the simple people.Phrases,music, dance, stage crafts,traditional touch,look,relevant subject matter,presentation style and above all  soul and body structure of feeling make the drama grand success.Audience believe that the theme of Sambalpuri dramas never exaggerate and always try to say the truth of life.

Prior to the drama audience findthemselves full of excitement and formtheir own idea aboutthe drama but when they foundthemselves in a different world through tremendous stage craft, excellent dialogue delivery,full of folk element, sweet music,lively acting they just couldn’tmake outwhether they are watching Sambalpuri play or a play of standard language and this made them proud.Stage craft is an important aspect of a success drama and in Sambalpuri drama also we can see beautiful stage craft. Though this is not only the reason to make the play successful still good stage craft has special impact. In the early stage of the drama the organisers laboured to give anauthentic look to the stage and theme.

(The views expressed are the writer’s own)

Satya Narayan Thakur is a Lecturer and lover of art,culture,literature,religion philosophy and social activities. He has been working as a Lecturer in History at Mandhata Baba Junior College,Maneswar,

Sambalpr,Odisha since the last 24 years.He has good experience in the field of social work. He has completed his M.A. in both History and MSW.He likes to write articles on the topics mentioned above.His articles and features have been published in Odia,Sambalpuri,Hindi and English in state and national level magazines and journals. He is associated with different social and religious organizations and gives time for the development of the society. He is passionate about Yoga and teaches it. As a scholar of Sambalpuri drama many articles and dramas have been written from his pen.

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