Ganga-Jamuna cultural festival begins

On Friday, artists perform a group dance recital during the inaugural ceremony of the Ganga-Jamuna cultural festival at the National Theater of Bangladesh’s Shilpakala Academy. — New Age Photo

The 2021 Ganga-Jamuna Cultural Festival kicked off at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in the capital on Friday.

The Bailey Road Theater staged the famous verse drama Payer Awaj Pawa Jay by Syed Shamsul Haq directed by the late comedian Abdullah Al Mamun at the National Theater Hall on opening day. Also, Aranyak Natyadal staged his production Kohe Facebook written and directed by Mamunur Rashid at Experimental Theater Hall and district Shilpakala Academy Dhaka staged Janaker Mrityu Nei written by Abdul Halim Aziz and directed by Soron Saha at Studio Theater Hall.

The festival’s inaugural ceremony took place at the National Theater Hall at 5:30 p.m. Minister of State for Cultural Affairs, KM Khalid was present as the chief guest of the program while renowned actors namely Asaduzzaman Noor, Ramendu Majumdar, Ataur Rahman, Nasiruddin Yousuff and Director General of Shilpakala Academy from Bangladesh, Liaquat Ali Lucky, were present as special guests.

In addition, Ganga-Jamuna Sangskritik Utsab Parshad member secretary Akter Uzzaman delivered the welcome speech during the program, which was chaired by parshad organizer Ghulam Quddus.

Ghulam Quddus and guests inaugurated the lighting of the Mangal Pradeep festival.

Organizers paid tribute to cultural activists who died amid the Covid-19 outbreak by hosting a photography exhibition at the site.

“I would like to pay tribute to all those who died during the pandemic period. It is high time that theater troupes start focusing on the quality of theater productions. We must not compromise when it comes to ensuring the quality of theater productions,” said Asaduzzaman Noor.

“We returned to the stage today after 18 months in front of a packed auditorium. Although we couldn’t work for long due to the Covid situation, we now have to work hard to bounce back. Cultural activists have made a number of demands to the government. I hope the demands will be met soon,” said Nasiruddin Yousuff.

“This festival, which was organized after a long break, will help us move forward. This festival testifies to the fact that we want to overcome the pandemic situation and we have this strength. I wish the best for the festival,” said Liaquat Ali Lucky.

The Ganga-Jamuna Cultural Festival 2021 features performances by approximately 3,500 artists from 140 local cultural organizations. Indian cultural organizations were unable to participate in this year’s festival due to the Covid situation.

Local troupes, including 36 theater troupes, 11 recitation troupes, 12 music troupes, 11 dance troupes and others will entertain audiences at the festival, which will be held at the National Theater Hall, Experimental Theater Hall, Studio Theater Hall, at the National Music-Dance-Recitation Auditorium and the Open Stage in the premises of the BSA.

Cultural events will take place on the open stage at the BSA premises from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and plays will be performed at other venues from 7:00 p.m. daily.

Ganga-Jamuna Sangskritik Utsab Parshad is holding the festival for the ninth time after a one-year hiatus. The festival could not be held in 2020 due to the Covid epidemic. This year’s festival was organized with the support of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.

This year’s festival marks the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence and the centenary of the birth of the country’s founding president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The 12-day festival will end on October 12.

Darcy J. Skinner