Girish Karnad’s Play: Nagamandal

Playwright: Girish Karnad
Translator: Sukesh Panda
Director: Nalini Nihar Nayak
Group: New Quest Repertory, Rourkela
Language: Odia
Duration: 2 hrs 15 mins

The Play
Almost all creation, be it animals, birds, trees or men, has two elemental components – male and female. Each wishes to keep the other under subjugation. Girish Karnad, in his play Nagamandal conveys that the companions should remain complementary to each other. Rani weds Apanna, who has the typical ‘I am the master’ role and expects his wife to submit unquestioningly to his shenanigans. Suppression of womanhood in this male-dominated society is a common phenomenon. The writer advocates gender-justice and freedom through Rani. By integrating folk tales into the play he has been able to create a drama of varied hues.

Director’s Note
Trouble in the universal yet intricately delicate relationship between a man and a woman creates an imbalance, a disturbing ripple. Incorporating this social message, the play Nagamandal by Girish Karnad really fascinated me. I am able to relate to folktales and legends of such essence, since they are prevalent in my culture, land, and people. Hence I was allured to recreate this folktale. And in doing so I used many indigenous and dying art-forms of Odisha like Mayurbhanj Chhau dance, Odissi dance and song, Sambalpuri dance and songs, etc. The music is played using classical instruments, for classical dance forms beginning with Ranapa to Odissi and Bharatnatyam. I have tried to make it a musical and choreographically expressive play, hoping it will be well received by the audience.

The Director
Nalini Nihar Nayak is a well-known theatre director, actor, designer, and music composer of Odisha. He is a trained Chhau dancer in the Mayurbhanj style and has won many awards like the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar 2012 in the field of theatre direction awarded by Sangeet Natak Akademi, Rajiv Gandhi Professional Award, National Youth Award, Baisakhi National Excellency Award, National Natya Vibhushan, and more than 200 Government & non-Government Awards. He has acted in 85 plays, directed 41 plays throughout India and abroad. He has participated in SNA Festival New Delhi; EZCC Festival; National Youth Festival; Inter-University theatre festival; Bharat rang Mahotsav and many more.

The Playwright
Girish Raghunath Karnad was an Indian actor, film director and Kannada writer. He is the recipient of Jnanpith Award, the highest literary honour conferred in India. For four decades Karnad composed plays, often using history and mythology to tackle contemporary issues. He was also active in the world of Indian cinema working as an actor, director, and screenwriter, and earning numerous awards along the way. He was conferred Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.

The Group
New Quest Repertory was established in 2003, under leadership of Nalini Nihar Nayak, with an objective to train young artists in theatre and to use their learning in professionally; to resurrect the dying art form of Odisha. It has participated in festivals organized by Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi, Yuva Pratibha Mahostav, and SNA New Delhi; and experimental theatre festivals hosted by EZCC, Kolkata; National Youth Festival by Ministry of Youth Affairs, Govt. of India; 18th Bharat Rang Mahotsav, NSD; National Theatre Festival by Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal; Konark Festival and many more across the country besides theatre festivals by Govt. and non-Govt. organizations.

Cast & Credits
On Stage                                                  Niranjan Acharya, Lalatendu Panigrahy, Pragyan Ranjan                                                                           Panda, Dwiti Krushna Panda, Swarup Ranjan Das, Chinmaya                                                                     Kumar Panda, Nabakishore Ghosh, Soumyaranjan Mohanty,                                                                     Pankaj Nath, Dinesh Mohanty, Surajsatapathy, Barsharani                                                                         Barik, Rashmita Das, Pinkiraninayak, Afreen Begum,                                                                                   Shubhasmita Singh, Manasi Das, Tanushree Parida

Sound                                                       Jasobanta Narayan Ray
Light                                                          Sagar Swaroop Swain
Set                                                            Chintamani Biswal
Make-up                                                    Ramesh Chandra Sahoo
Music                                                         Kailash Chandra Senapati
Props                                                         Amit Kumar Meher
Camera                                                     Dipankar Janah

Odia Translation                                       Sukesh Panda
Playwright                                                 Girish Karnad
Choreography, Light,
Design & Direction                                   Nalini Nihar Nayak

Director, New Quest Repertory
TF-7, NIT, Rourkela 769008
Distt. Sundragarh, Odisha
M: +91 9937556626, 7978071741


Watch Professor Khushlani’s review of the play and interview with directors –