For an artiste, the best moments are spent doing what they love doing best. Theatre personality Sohini Sengupta too had a Durga Puja involved in Nandikar rehearsals.
“I was rehearsing for plays on Shashti and Saptami. Had a show, Panchajanya, at The Academy of Fine Arts on Ashtami. Nabami and Dashami were spent with loved ones over lunch and dinner. It was an unusual Puja this year and no pandal hopping for me,” she said.
The year has been a great dampener for artistes with COVID fear introducing social distancing and use of masks. Theatre suffered mostly with no shows for a long time. Nandikar, along with five other theatre groups, staged plays at the Academy for the first time after seven months during Puja. “It was a grand show keeping in mind all the guidelines. We personally sanitised the stage. The auditorium has some 700 plus seats but only 270 was allowed keeping in mind social distancing. All 270 seats were full,” Sohini shared
It’s tough for artistes to stay away from the stage. While TV and film shoots resumed earlier in July, theatre took some more time. When asked how did she cope with the pandemic stress, Sohini said, “I didn’t panic much. I was offered one of the current mega serials, Khor Kuto, by Leenadi (Gangopadhyay) and I felt blessed. It has not only given me a different medium of acting to creatively express myself but also helped me with the money. My only concern was paying the theatre group members. Fortunately, my father Rudraprasad Sengupta, Saptarshi and I could do that without slashing anyone’s salary.”
But her concern remains for the smaller theatre groups who are not organised like Nandikar and are finding it difficult to get their foot back in this work.