The Play

Bipannata is the story of the helplessness of Sulagna Dutta, a woman in her late 50s, a widow and a single parent. She represents the middle class, who wakes up to a daily routine expecting a more or less secured lifestyle. She is neither a political bigwig nor a celebrity, but one of those you wouldn’t even notice when passing by. She has raised her son Ujaan to be a responsible man and who is now a computer engineer. The only problem is that he has his own well defined opinions. He is sensitive and reacts like a normal human being to events happening around him…events of large scale state generated violence that permeate into our lives and induce a constant state of fear. Sulagna is worried for her son, who goes into bouts of depression and hides at home, refusing to go out and participate in a world he cannot question. She sets up an appointment with a renowned psychoanalyst Dr. Ahana Roy.

What follows is a heartrending search into fear psychosis and the resulting helplessness. Are we all trying to hide in our cocoons? Are we afraid to question? How is an individual supposed to negotiate in these circumstances? Do we need help? And who can help?

Director’s note

Choice of Bipannata – a rationale: The play tries to address the feelings of fear and helplessness that we carry within us in these hard times. How is one supposed to react to the violence that one witnesses daily? To questions of state induced terrorism, rape, capital punishment…….? Is one expected merely to drink it in with his morning cup of coffee? Or can one exercise his basic right of speech and thought? Can one help himself? Is there someone who can help? Can he expect any help at all?

The Director

Sohini Sengupta is an upcoming director and a leading stage artist and trainer of Nandikar. She has acted as the lead in most of Nandikar’s recent productions and also in some of the plays sponsored by the British Council and other reputed theatre groups from Kolkata. Her character in Aparna Sen’s film Paromitar Ekdin brought her major acclaims, including the award for the Best Supporting Actress at National Film Awards, the highest Indian recognition given to film artists. She has also received the Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for her contribution to theatre.

The Playwright

Debatosh Das (born 11th, January 1972) is a contemporary Bengali novelist and short story writer. He is a Post-Graduate in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University. He has written- two novels, four plays and fifteen short stories so far. He also writes features on varied topics in different newspapers regularly. He appeared in Bengal theatre with his maiden play

O Chand in 2012, which deals with the Maoist movement in India. Bipannata is his second play. It was published in the theatre magazine ‘Bahurupi’ in 2013.

The Group

‘Nandikar’ is a 53-year-old institution which has been at the forefront of the national theatre movement since its birth in 1960, and is recognized for the diversity, quality and scale of its sustained activities. Nandikar has produced about 80 plays, performed nearly 8000 times across the nation, featuring in all major national and state festivals, as well as abroad. Many of its productions, e.g. Natyakarer Sandhane, Chhati Charitra, Tin Poysar Pala, Bhalomanush, Football, Antigone, etc., have had more than 400 performances. Beyond its theatre mould, with wide reach and professional quality, it has also carried out diverse socio-cultural activities in various segments over the years. It holds workshops and works with institutions and organizations like Ministry of Women and Child Development, Human Resource Development, Sangeet Natak Akademi, ICCR and NSD under different collaborations. Nandikar is also involved in research, documentation & dissemination of literary, audio and video formats; organizes national integration camps; and hosting international exchange programmes.

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is a former Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he taught were: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won a total of nine Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Earlier he retired from Government of India as Director Environment Management, Central Water Commission and held many senior positions in the Government Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He was an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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