Delhi-based theatre group Chenamukh celebrated its 40th anniversary with a retrospective two-day festival, featuring some its famous plays. The festival, organised in association with Bengal Association at the Muktadhara Auditorium, concluded on Sunday.

Chenamukh, which means a familiar face, has become just that among Bengali theatregoers in the National Capital. Set up and nurtured by the late Paresh Das, one of the best theatre artists Delhi has produced, the group features plays not only in Bengali but in Hindi, Urdu and English also. Their first play, ~Kal Nirobodhi~, written and directed by Paresh Das, who also acted in it, helped the group gain a strong foothold in Delhi.

The brainchild of a few dedicated theatre workers, the group staged its first play on World Theatre Day, 27 March, 1978. Its survival and continuing popularity among the Capital’s audience, in the multimedia age, alongside other competitive theatre groups, has been no simple task. Tarun Das, the creative head of this company, looks back with nostalgia and pride on what has been a long journey.

Talking to The Statesman he said, “It has been 40 years now and Chenamukh is happy to celebrate its long and never-ending journey. With no funds and no monetary aids and support, Chenamukh has still maintained to hold its head high to celebrate the Bengali culture. Our group has always come up with some prodigious plays, and our performances are not only confined to Delhi but staged successfully in Gujarat, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.”

The theatre group has groomed a constellation of talents, including eminent artiste Mita Das, late Arati Dutta, Prasanta Bhattacharya, Shibasish Chatterjee, Pintoo Misra, late K K Chatterjee, Tarumita Das, Palash Das and theatre icon late Jagannath Banerjee, he added.

Two eminent Bengali theatre personalities from Delhi ~ octogenerian Sachipati Bhattacharya and Prasanta Bhattacharya ~ were felicitated at festival for their contributions in the field of theatre. Sachipati Bhattacharya, 86, while recounting his career in theatre, urged the younger artists to be passionate about their work for a better output and social cause.

Three plays ~ Tonu kemon ache, Shesh Songlap and Binodini ~ were staged at the festival. All three plays were directed by Tarun Das and featured many fresh faces.