Sadanand and his ‘ant’iquated friends!
DIWAN SINGH BAJELI
“Sadanand Ki Chhoti Duniya” deals with a boy’s unusual fascination with the world of ants.
From ordinary human situations, Ray weaves an engaging story
Viewpoint A scene from “Sadanand Ki Chhoti Duniya”.
Satyajit Ray, the maker of immortal films like “Pather Panchali”, was a multi-faceted artiste whose works have enduring appeal, revealing Indian reality and human conditions. His fictional works in Bengali, remarkable for gripping drama,
capture the heart of the readers. Some of his stories are presented frequently in Delhi to the delight of youngsters. Recently, the stage version of Ray’s short story “Sadanand Ki Chhoti Duniya” was mounted at Poorvanchal Sanskritik Kendra which brought alive the fascination of a little boy named Sadanand for ants. The production highlighted the fact that the love of an innocent child can establish an abiding friendship between a child and insects. In contrast, the adult world with its arrogance and conceit is incapable of communicating with a child, let alone establishing a true friendship with him.
Directed by Raj Kumar, who has also done the adaptation of the story, the play opens with Sadanand lying sick in his bed. The boy is lonely, but staring out of the window, he finds companions in squirrels, watching their movements up and down the mango tree. The very sight of squirrels brings great happiness to him, making him forget his high fever. Sadanand fantasises about the world of insects, trees and wandering the boundless horizon of imagination. His mother is worried about his recurrent fever. The doctor attending on him advises that he should be hospitalised.
Meanwhile, Sadanand has found new friends in ants. He offers them sugar crystals as a token of his sincere friendship. He watches with great fun when two ants fights with each other, often tries to intervene in their fight, trying to bring about peace while keeping them on his palm. He is sad when he sees a large number of ants taking the body of an ant to put it to eternal rest. Sadanand reflects on the highly organised and disciplined world of ants. He is filled with amazement to discover their neat and well-planned ‘homes’.
On his hospital bed with neat and clean walls and floors, he is sad because he is not able to find any ant. However, a few ants enter from outside through the window to become his guests because he offers them sugar crystals. This is Sadanand’s little happy world and he hates the world of the adults which forces him to go to school, a world with whom he has a hostile relationship. From ordinary human situations, Ray weaves an engaging story that has suspense and drama. It is a work of genius.
Raj Kumar, trained under Barry John, has been associated with theatre for the last one decade. He has adapted several stories for the stage and watched productions of Devendra Raj Ankur who is said to the innovator of Kahani Ka Rangmanch. Raj Kumar does not call his production Kahani Ka Rangmanch. He calls it stage presentation of short stories. The Sutradhar plays an important role in this production. The director has faithfully retained significant parts of the original story. The dramatic action takes place in four locales — Sadanand’s home, his school, playfield and hospital ward. The music effect imparts a lyrical touch to the production. The tone of the production at places was subdued and the pace tediously slow.
The sets were inadequate to capture the required ambience for the action. Within the given resources the director could have achieved better results. The hospital scene was clumsily conceived.
Raj Kumar as the narrator, Pravin Yadav as Sadanand, Deepak as the doctor, Abhimanyu as the father and masterji, Sneha as the mother and Arun Singh as Zhantu gave a good account of themselves.
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