Monday, 27 July 2015

A Date with Himu

Aitrayee Sarkar shares her experience of witnessing eight performers paying homage to their dear writer Humayun Ahmed in Kolkata recently. 

It was a usual July rainy morning in Kolkata. A team of eight got together despite the inclement weather conditions at Abar Baithak, a popular city cafĂ©, to read out excerpts from a novel of celebrated writer Humayun Ahmed. They were waiting for listeners with pumping hearts. The idea was to pay tribute to Humayun Ahmed in his third death anniversary this year. 

Humayun Ahmed
The novel they selected for reading was ‘Mayurakshi’ one of the most popular creations from Humayun’s ‘Himu’ series. ‘Himu’ is an fictional character enormously popular in the contemporary Bengali literature. Readers do find some similarities between ‘Himu’ and Sunil Gangopadhyay’s ‘Nillohit’. But I personally feel that they are somehow different in nature and approach. Humayun Ahmed himself could not figure out how many stories or novels he actually wrote on ‘Himu’. He once said, he wrote Himu stories whenever he was in pain or felt left alone. 

The eight Humayun-lovers wanted the listeners to relive the moments and space that Himu has offered his readers for years. It was indeed a gesture of love and affection for literature and especially for ‘Himu’, a character sometimes that goes beyond imagination.    
The event started with a small note on Humayun Ahmed and ‘Himu’ delivered by actor and performing artist Swaralipi Chatterjee who also played ‘Rupa’, the love interest of Himu. Actor Shoumo Banjerjee (Himu), Asim Debnath and photographer Chayanika Chakraborty, architect Amitava Chakraborty and Niharika Chakraborty played their due characters in the session. The organizers deserve a round of applause for managing to bring together so many professionals from different fields under one roof.  

The Performance

The session continued for an hour or so. The novel was edited for time constraints but I must say, the editing by Sumita Samanta was phenomenal. The choice of costume by actors was also appreciable. They selected ‘Holud Panjabi’ (Yellow kurta), a typical ‘Himu’ outfit, blue share for ‘Rupa’ (as imagined by Humayun himself) and white and other colors for rest of the actors. One thing that needs to be pointed out is absence of music in the act was quite unexpected. I think a single Tagore song or some other music piece would have made it more attractive.    

Overall it was an honest attempt. And nothing looked unreal in the whole event.  At the end of the program the shop owners announced that they would like to host similar literary sessions regularly and requested the listeners to come up with fresh ideas and suggestions.  

Humayun Ahmed was never been a person whose creation could be restricted by any kind of barrier. He is equally popular in Bangladesh and West Bengal. Now-a-days Benaglis from both side of the border often join hands to celebrate various events at national or international level. I hope one day will come when the two people would come together to pay tribute to writers like Humayun Ahmed too. That will be the best reward that these eight Benagalis can hope for. Don't forget they are the one who has finally set the trend by remembering Humayun Ahmed in their own merry way. 

The writer is an editor of WebPressClub

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