Sometime back, I had the opportunity to shoot the play Nat Binodini at Rangashankara, Bangalore, India. Synopsis of the play is at the end of the blog.

This is one of the best plays that I had seen in recent times. The scenographer, Mr Nissar Allana, the Diro, Mrs Amal Allana, the cast and the crew had done a great job. Even though, I was watching the play through my glass, I was getting goosebumps at the presentation.

Some shots from there in chronology of Play, backstage, stage preparation…
4 women on stageThe stage
Entrance of Bengali Babu

Backstage: This is the part that I love…

Sonam Kalra:
Eye

Salima Raza:
Nati

Jayanto Das:
Nati Binodini- Mahashoy Jayanto Das

Natasha Rastogi (I am not sure here…)
Nati Binodini-Applying layers

Sonam Kalra setting up Sanjay Gautam
Nati Binodini-Applying lipstick

Amal Allana setting up Salima Raza as Amita Ailawadi looks on
Natti-Binodini-Director applying the finishing touches

Stage preparation: This was the unique thing about the play. Upon discussions with Mr Nissar Allana on the stage lights, he mentioned that he normally uses in excess of 120 lights and Rangashankara had the provision of only around 80 lights…
Ranga Shankara Stage preparation-3 for Nati BinodiniRanga Shankara Stage preparation-2 for Nati BinodiniRanga Shankara Stage preparation-1 for Nati Binodini

And the essence of Nati Binodini:
The Lotus

I had a great time doing this. Hope u liked the set too.

NB: For ones who want more details on Nati Binodini…
Nati Binodini- A synopsis

Adapted from: Aamar Katha by Binodini
Performed by: Theatre and Television Associates, New Delhi
Produced by: Theatre and Television Associates, New Delhi
Director: Amal Allana
Hindi, 100 minutes

Synopsis
Binodini’s was a remarkable life. Born into a family of ‘kept’ women, she was, in fact, only the fifth woman in Bengal to take up acting as a profession in the mid-19th century. Under the tutelage of the famous manager Girish Ghosh of the Bengal Theatre, Binodini rose to be a star, widely acclaimed for the sheer range of characters she portrayed. Aamar Katha, Binodini’s autobiography, written long after she quit the stage, provides a riveting account of the personal turmoil and conflict the actress experienced in her encounters with Bhadralok society.

The play opens with the old Binodini questioning the meaning of her existence, as one who has been cast aside, not only by society, but by God Himself. She asks the older Girish Ghosh, seated in a wheelchair, to listen to the story of her life. Only then would he understand her loss of Faith.

In her production of Nati Binodini, Amal Allana pieces together a tale in a form and style that is liquid and sensory. Scenes move seamlessly from past to presently and vice versa, deriving a sequencing pattern that is based on ‘emotional memory’ – rather than hard fact or chronological order. The character of Binodini is played by, sometimes one, sometimes two and sometimes chorally by five women. The roles switch from actress to actress in the blink of an eye. The performance begins to either float above reality, or at times, becomes rooted in authentic fact. This connection between reality and illusion echoes the very character of Binodini.

The sets of the play lend themselves beautifully to such a presentation. The projection of locales from the period coupled with a shimmering floor and evocative lighting create a cinematic effect that transport the audience into the past in which Binodini re-lives her memory. The play’s music, drawn from authentic sources, includes original tunes and lyrics of theatre music of the times.

Cast: Salima Raza, Swaroopa Ghosh, Jayanto Das, Natasha Rastogi, Sonam Kalra, Amita Ailawadi and Sanjay Gautam
Crew: Nissar Allana, Amal Allana, Devajit Bandyopadhyay, Kabir Singh and Preeti Vasudevan

More details of review here: http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/fr/2006/12/08/stories/2006120801500300.htm