A Conversation with Debshankar Haldar

Debshankar Haldar

Debshankar Haldar

Debshankar Haldar is undoubtedly the most sought after stage actor in Kolkata. As of now, Debshankar performs in 23 productions at the same time, a feat which no actor has ever been able to accomplish.  Considered to be the greatest stage actor of our times,  Debshankar received the Sangeet Natak Academy award for his superlative performances. Few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to have a candid conversation with this accomplished actor. He spoke about his acting and his process of character development. He also spoke about the current status of Bengali theater and shared his dreams and wishes.
If you are a theater lover, this interview would be a treat for you.

Enjoy!

Mahabharata Episode 25: The Pilgrimage

Agastya drinks the ocean

Agastya drinks the ocean

After spending few years in the Kamyaka forest, the Pandavas embark on a grand pilgrimage to visit the various holy places around the country. and learn about their glorious legends. Rishi Lomasha volunteered to be their guide. On their first stop, they visit the Ashrama of Rishi Agastya. Lomasha tells them the stories of the strange miracles performed by Agastya.

Listen to this exciting episode, and don’t forget to give us your feedback.

A Chat with Anindya Chatterjee

Anindya Chatterjee

Anindya Chatterjee

Few months ago, filmmaker Anindya Chatterjee was in the USA with his debut feature film “Open-Tee Bioscope”. He, along with his friend Saugata, was touring the country and screening the film a several venues where Bengalis flocked. For many Bengalis in their middle age, the nostalgic film recreates their teenage years spent in the lanes and bylanes of Kolkata. It chronicles a tumultuous year in the life of a teenage boy, a coming of age story that is familiar to many of us even if we didn’t grow up in Kolkata.  I got a chance to catch up with Anindya when he was visiting Washington D.C. to screen his film. He was kind enough to spend few minutes talking about his film and about his future plan. I hope you enjoy.

Mahabharata Episode 24: Arjuna and Urvasi

Urvashi curses Arjuna

Urvashi curses Arjuna

Arjuna visits the heavens to acquire more weapons from his father Indra. Apart from acquiring the skills in using the divine weapons, Arjuna also begins taking lessons in music and dance from the Gandharva Guru Chitrasena.  There he meets the beautiful Apsara, Urvasi and Arjuna’s resolve gets tested once again.

Listen to this episode below and don’t forget to provide your feedback.

Mahabharata Episode 23: Arjuna’s Quest for Divine Weapons

Kirata and Arjuna Story

Kirata and Arjuna Story

Yudhistira realized that to conquer the Kauravas, he needs to have powerful weapons. He sends Arjuna on a quest to acquire divine and powerful weapons from the gods. Arjuna travels far and meets Lord Shiva in a strange circumstance. The pleased lord Shiva fulfils our heroes wish.

Listen to this special episode of the Vana Parva or the Forest Chapter of the Mahabharatas.

Mahabharata Episode 22: Draupadi’s Argument

Krishna fights Salwa and his Vimana (airship) Sauvanagar

Krishna fights Salwa and his Vimana (airship) Sauvanagar

The Pandavas are now in exile in the forest. One day Krishna visits the Pandavas in the forest to express his solidarity.  He apologizes for not being able to attend the game of dice and stop this misfortune from befalling on the Pandavas. He then tells the Pandavs the story of how he destroyed King Salwa and his airship (Vimana) called Sauvanagar.  Later, Draupadi rebukes Yudhistira for his pacifism and challenges him to fight the Kauravas and win back their Kingdom.  Yudhistira tries to defend his stand, but he feels that time has come to change his course of action. 

Listen to this exciting episode below. Subscribe to our iTunes podcast for a seamless listening experience.

Looking for Support

SQTheaterWorks in collaboration with ECTA is launching my play “TACONIC PARKWAY” in New York at the Thespis Festival 2015. The play will be staged on July 16, 17 and 19 at the Hudson Guild Theater on 441 W, 26th St, New York. The play will be directed by Bruce “Master B” Baek.
We need your support to make this project successful. Please check the campaign details below. Looking forward to your support.

Behind The Scenes of The Mahabharata Podcast

Sudipta Bhawmik and Avi Ziv

Sudipta Bhawmik and Avi Ziv

The other day, Avi and I sat together to chat about what goes on behind the scenes of “The Stories of Mahabharata”  podcast. We talked about how Avi goes about designing the sound for the podcast. And I spoke about the development process of each episode from the writer and performers point. Our objective was to connect to our listeners and to share our process with them. We hope you like it.

Mahabharata Episode 21: The Exile

The Sun God and Yudhistira

The Sun God and Yudhistira

The Pandavas go into exile as per the conditions of the game.  The Sun god gifts Yudhistira with the magic bowl to feed his followers. Upset by Vidura’s harsh comments Dhritarashtra banishes him. But he couldn’t live without him either. So he calls Vidura back to the palace. Rishi Maitreya visits Hastinapura and curses Duryodhana for his arrogance.

Listen to this episode which marks the beginning of the third chapter of the Mahabharata – The Vana Parva or The Forest Chapter.

Some Thoughts on Anahuta Sandhya

A Scene from Anahuta Sandhya

A Scene from Anahuta Sandhya

Many years ago, I heard a strange story. I was told, that there was this Bengali man (in New York or New Jersey)  who had a weird hobby. Although I don’t know if one can call this a hobby. This man, whenever he went on a trip to Kolkata, would put an advertisement in the matrimonial section of the local Bengali daily looking for a bride for himself. He would then go to a selected number of respondents house to interview the potential bride, enjoy their hospitality and a sumptuous meal.  But his intention was not to marry the girls he saw, for he had a wife and family back here in USA. I struggled hard to comprehend his motive. It was difficult to imagine that this man, who lived in USA, would do this only to enjoy a free meal each evening.  Was this some kind of a perverted adventure?  What was he looking for? What drove him to do such a terrible thing?  Although I am not sure if this story was true at all, but it intrigued me nevertheless. I thought, there must be more to this story than what meets the eyes (or ears). And this thought was the seed for my latest play, “Anahuta Sandhya”. Continue reading