The last journey of Marxist leader Jyoti Basu saw a sea of humanity descend upon the streets of Kolkata, and now, a city-based Jatra (folk opera) group is working on staging a play that will begin at the end and then flash-back nearly 40 years.
Producers are still finalising the cast of the nearly three-hour-long play titled Alor Shikha Amar Jyoti (Immortal Jyoti). Although they refused to reveal details, the play will focus on important events in Mr. Basu’s political life entwined with poignant moments from his personal one.
Scenes from his days as a Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, the victory of the Left Front in 1977, and his long stint as Chief Minister will all be a part of the play, said Prashanta Goswami, manager of Anjali Opera, the Jatra company that is producing the play.
Though the Jatra tradition has been known to take on political themes and serve as an instrument of political satire and protest, Mr. Goswami insisted the play will not have an overt political message. “Mr. Basu was a luminary of not just West Bengal but all of India. We are producing this play so that more people are inspired by his life.” Scripted by Aguntuk (the playwright prefers to be known by his pseudonym), the producers hope the play will be staged by the end of the month.
Gourishankar Panda, who will essay the role of Mr. Basu on stage, said: “Any actor would find it extremely difficult to portray the character of Mr. Basu, given the stature of the man. I can only say that I will try to make it as believable as possible.”