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Lockdown short Shilpi is a tribute to the late Usha Ganguly and all theatre artistes

Conceptualised by Nandita Roy for Windows Production, the film talks about the importance of art in life. 

Roushni Sarkar

Windows Production's latest lockdown short, Shilpi, is a tribute to the late thespian Usha Ganguly and all theatre artistes struggling to keep theatre alive in these times of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown. Featuring actor Riddhi Sen and his parents, veteran theatre artistes Kaushik Sen and Reshmi Sen, the story of this short film, on the importance of art in life, has been primarily conceptualised by Nandita Roy.

Roy purposely chose this family of three artistes known for their immense contribution to Bengali theatre. In a rather simple story, the three of them establish how deeply they are involved in theatre and art. 

The story begins when the television set in the household suddenly stops working. The mother (Reshmi Sen) begins ranting as the television is their only source of entertainment during the lockdown. She asks her husband (Koushik Sen) and son Mainak (Riddhi Sen) to fix the problem or else she threatens to leave the house. While the parents keep brooding, Mainak suddenly comes up with the idea of staging a drawing room play and draws references to odd theatre productions staged outside the proscenium. 

Encouraged, the trio start enacting certain scenes from the plays they have staged as part of their production. They dedicate their evenings to playing out scenes from Rogir Bondhu by Rabindranath Tagore, William Shakespeare’s Othello, Buddhadeb Basu’s Prothom Alo and Nana Ronger Din by Ajitesh Bandopadhyay.

Amidst their acts, they have adda and jamming sessions with homemade snacks and also joyfully complete their household chores. The existence of the television set simply vanishes from their mind, until one evening, it suddenly starts working on its own.

However, this time, they happily switch it off and continue to make the best of their time by investing it in what they enjoy the most - theatre. They also subtly send across a message about religion being used for political gains while playing out their parts from Nana Ronger Din.

In the end, the film implies that for one, who has surrendered to the love of art, there is no disease or distress. It also brings out the struggle of theatre artistes to survive, while keeping the art form alive.  

Watch the short film below:

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