Published: 17th May 2018
Play the street style! Nukkad Natak, a big hit across campuses in Bhubaneshwar
The group had performed in Rahagiri, Springfest, Manthan Street and for Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan Competition
All the world's a stage! That's what we learned from Shakespeare's 'As you like it'. The Shakespearean phrase holds true for the youngsters in Bhubaneswar. They don't need a theatre or an opera hall to enact plays. The streets are their stage now. And, thus Nukkad Natak is a big hit on the campuses across the city. From KIIT to IIT, every institute has its own team for Nukkad Natak. This week, when The City Express team strolled through the campuses, we came across some amazing street play teams. Each team had a story to share. Thus, we bring you how these youngsters break into a play when you are perhaps sauntering on the streets to make you think over social issues.
Dreams on fire
KASH (Kuch Adhure Sapne Hamare) is the street play team of KIIT University. It was founded in 2012 by Kartik Bhagat, Farakh Abbas, Smaraki Mohanty, Somak Gupta, Sounak Ray and Ved Upadhyay. They are six passionate engineers who chose to see life beyond their books. The founding members of this group belong to different communities. But, there was one thing in common: a dream. They dreamt of breaking the shackles of caste, creed, and religion to present their creativity in performing arts. That's how the group derived its name! Though the troupe was formed as a college group, it went on to become a professional theatre group and has performed across the State. However, it has kept itself grounded to its root at KIIT, where the legacy is being continued and the baton is handed over to new leaders every year. KASH had performed in cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, and Delhi. Not just that, Farakh has turned KASH into an entrepreneurial venture to bridge the gap between underprivileged and privileged kids. This initiative won the prestigious Ashoka University entrepreneur award recently.
So, where all in the city do they perform? They perform at major trisections in Bhubaneshwar like Market Building Area and in and around Patia Chowk. College festivals also provide them the necessary platform. They have performed reputed fests in various cities including Mood Indigo(IIT Bombay), Spring Fest(IIT Kharagpur),, and IIM(Kolkata).
Practice Zone: The group members conduct rehearsals at Konkord Ground and Student Activity Centre of their college.
Current actors: Jasleen Saini, Tanmay Pal, Piyush Upadhyay, Raksha Sinha, Amisha, Annesha, Mahira Goswami, Priyal Rajan Thakur, Laila Chakraborty, Sankalp Seth, Aryamaan, Saurabh Mookherjee, Neha, Ananya mahanta, Trisha Bannerjee, Lavanya Roshan, Prateek Mittal, Nikita Singh, ipshita Das, Anoushka Ghosh.
Expert tip: Nukkad is a display of passion. It is not just about loud voices. It is about voices laced with satire and irony that can have an impact on the society. " The key to any great performance is to make the audience not only relate to the controversies and taboos we act out but to make them feel like a part of the performance," said Jasleen, a group member, adding the tempo and intensity must vary constantly with swift transitions.
Dramatics of hope
The Nukkad team AAKANKSH of IIIT Bhubaneswar was founded in 2016. On February 11, 2016, they performed for the first time at Rahagiri in the city. AAKANKSH has become an umbrella team for dramatics in IIIT Bhubaneswar. It started with a Nukkad team to include all other forms of dramatics. The team was formed by greenhorns, who had no exposure to Nukkad Natak. The choice of name for the group was unanimous as it meant hope. "Taking up an art form as nukkad has always been a challenging task. From a good script, voice modulation, expressions and synchronization, each and every detail has to be done with perfection. To put up a good show, practice is very essential. During competition days, we rehearse for about a month," said Anmol, a member of the group. It is always a challenge for the team members to balance academics and nukkad. "The team members always have to come for practice early morning, train their voice, practice with props and music, learn the poems and the script. At times, it seems we are a family," Anmol added.
Power-pact 20 in 2 years
The group had performed in Rahagiri, Springfest, Manthan Street and for Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan Competition. They had performed about 10 times in the streets of Bhubaneswar and more than four times at college fests.
They stood second for three continuous years in nukkad competition of their college. They occupied the third position at Bhubaneswar Street Battle in 2018. The Nukkad team members had also performed in theatre at Spring Fest 2018 and bagged the third position at Rangmanch.
The act named Kalyug ka Shravan Kumar was the best play, the group said. They had performed this play at several competitions and in the city streets. The play promotes Indian culture and love for parents in the youth.
The team practices in the evening during weekdays mostly. The practice sessions sometimes extend till midnight to achieve perfection. They conduct such sessions in open spaces in the college.
"The key elements for a Nukkad performance are a script, team synchronization, voice modulation, music, presentation, enthusiasm for the art and undoubtedly practice. We believe in content-driven performances," Anmol said.
Raja Panda, Gourab Chattopadhyay,Neha Mohanty,Samvrant Rajbans,Arundhati Mahapatro, Subhendu Mohapatra, Abhikrit Rajput, Priyasmini Sahoo, Anuva Acharya, Sristi Tripathy, Abhilash Bharadwaj, Anubhav Bhattacharya, Bhavna Sadhangi, Kumar Aishwarya, Navendu Shekhar, Pushpak Hota, Sambit Sourav, Saumya Jha, Shashank Shekhar Nath ,Subham Sengupta ,Suranjeeta Sengupta and Swabhiman Choudhary among others
40 acts in 6 years
The nukkad group of 'Toneelstuk-the stage piece' (S'O'A Dramatics Society) belongs to ITER college. It was formed in 2013. The group staged its first act for an event in the university itself. Members of the university's social club Jaggo performed in a nearby slum on the day of Ganesh Puja. And, the journey has begun. The group had performed more than 40 acts for competitions and social awareness campaigns. Each performance is close to the heart of the group members. However, ask them about one that they cannot forget, they share their experience at IIT Kharagpur. " In 2016, we were performing our production based on 'Indian Army' in the prelims round at IIT, Kharagpur. We had nothing much to lose as we were not established then. We just had to make our grounds. And so we did, as soon as the last dialogue was delivered, we saw people rising and giving a standing ovation with a huge round of applause. This was new, encouraging and absolutely interesting for us. Later we went on to qualify for the finale," recollected Rohan, a member of the group.
The group bagged prizes at IIT Kharagpur for two consecutive years. They ranked first in the Bhubaneswar Street Play Battle. They participated and won prizes at IIT Kanpur fest where 30 teams were competing in front of Bollywood names like Vineet Kumar Singh, Virendra Saxena, Rajesh Sharma, Rakesh Bedi, Prithvi Zutshi and Avinash Das.
Practice makes them perfect!
"Inspired by northern nukkad culture, we do host serious practice sessions. Our morning and Sunday practices sessions are held in the lawn while evening sessions are held in the college's parking lot," said Rohan. They wake up at 6:30 am and practice for 45 minutes and again come back for the evening sessions after classes.
"While performing at IIT Kharagpur finale, during first 5mins one of our performer Abinash Sahu had ligament tear but he still went on to complete the whole 20 minutes act despite the pain," Rohan said. Another member, Shreyash wakes up at 4 am every day to reach the city from Jatni for the practice sessions.
They produced an original act titled "Tu Apne Sapno Ki Udaan Bhar." "The act stands as a mirror to people having dreams to analyze their strengths and weaknesses and if confident then marching forward to achieve the goals despite various issues," Rohan said.
Priyanka Priyadarshinee, Pranab Anand Khillar, Musharaf Ahmed, Manisha Mohanty, Rohan Yadav, Pragyandeepta Pradhan, Sangram Kumar Kochiary, Amit Guru, Subham Gahir, Asman Choudhury, Anupam Jena, Banisa Nayak, Atul Ratnam, Anshu Aman and Samikshya Mahapatra, among others.