Natasurya, aptly named after the greatest actor, director, and playwright of Assamese stage and screen, Natasurya Phani Sharma (1910-1970) was a four-day drama festival that concluded at Rabindra Bhawan, Guwahati today. The closing ceremony was graced by the Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Science, Technology & Climate Change Department, Information Technology Government of Assam, Shri Keshab Mahanta

Mahanta expressed his love and admiration for drama as an art form in his brief speech and stressed the importance of performing arts and the need for building and providing infrastructure for the artists and technicians to portray their skills and craft. This, he elaborated, would contribute to the intellectual and moral upliftment of the society, and keep the society deeply rooted in its culture and ethos.

This was the 25th year of the Natasurya drama festival but was solemnized in a low-key fashion keeping in mind the covid -19 threat.

The Natasurya Memorial Celebration Committee, popularly known as Natasurya, also took this opportunity to felicitate Prof. Upendra Nath Sarma, noted literature, and Chief Advisor of Natasurya for his years of dedicated service to the society as an educationist, revered teacher, and an erudite scholar.  

The main attraction of the evening was the staging of Atul Satya Koushik’s Hindi language play Ballygunge 1990. Ballygunge 1990 was an 80-minute-long thriller play that neither has an interval nor a blackout. The play is essentially a love story with thrilling twists and turns in the narrative.It was characterized by engrossing performances from noted film and television actor, Anup Soni (C.I.D, Crime Petrol) and Nishtha Paliwal Tomar. The play was written and directed by Atul Satya Koushik and produced by the Films and Theatre Society, Mumbai.

I was happy to note that the auditorium was packed with excited and learned audiences. The organizer even had to open the balcony of the Rabindra Bhawan to accommodate an ever-increasing number of incoming audiences. Once the balcony was filled, people could be seen standing through the duration of the show but in complete silence and discipline.

This was undoubtedly a great sign for the performing arts scene of the city that has suffered immensely due to the covid-19 pandemic. The success of events such as Natasurya will not only encourage talents from the 7 Northeast Indian states to take a leap of faith in their respective spheres but will also help turn Guwahati and Assam into the hub of cultural activities. This is bound to contribute to the social and cultural development of the state and the people. 

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