A handful of jatra organisers in Chitpore have put up a brave face as they announced their folk theatre schedules for the season amidst a looming third wave of Covid-19 and ongoing restrictions. An act more out of desperation to survive than anything else, the organisers say they have opened for business but so far have received very feeble response.
Usually considered as one of the busiest periods of the year, the scenes at Chitpore Road echo the lull prevalent across the performing arts industry across Bengal — with most offices shut, unkempt posters and banners with only a few putting up fresh banners and keeping their doors half ajar, waiting for customers.
The weeks leading to Rath Yatra were considered the busiest time for the troupes, finalising bookings and managing rehearsals, fixing props, music and light and chart the schedule for upcoming months. A number of troupes also used to perform shows during Rathyatra.
“I have lost business worth Rs 20 lakhs in last one year. We can’t sit back and do nothing as the livelihood of 40 odd artistes and technicians depend on us. We are open for business and just hoping the Covid situation gets better in the coming months,” said Bapi Ghosh, owner of New Jatralok Opera.
“With the looming third wave and restrictions in place, the feasibility of the upcoming season is in question. We are still sending our leaflets and list of shows to several organisers but there have been zero bookings as of now. We have even lowered our rates but even that hasn’t helped,” said Paresh Raut, the manager of Agnibina Opera .
Nepal Dutta, the manager-cum-director of Sonar Bangla Jatra Sanstha, said such has been the situation that several technicians and junior artistes are selling fish and vegetables by the roadside. Ashok Das, the producer and owner of Rajlakshni Opera, added that rising oil prices have made things further difficult for them.
Source: Times of India