DRAMA THAT CHANGED THE PERCEPTION OF AUDIENCE BUT COULD NOT SHAKE THE CONSCIENCE OF POLITICIANS

VINAYA WALAVALKAR-MANTRI

Namaskar Goenkar!

This time let’s discuss about drama, its strength, language and culture. You can’t separate art and culture from drama. Art, Entertainment, Culture and Language are inseparable; they are virtually embedded in each other deeply. I would rather say language attains more important position amongst them. For instance, you might create a perfect art form in that language but if the audience does not understand the language itself then everything is useless. If we talk about the language, in the modern world we are witnessing the trend of feeling greatness in having command over English. Socially it is considered inferior. It is ironical that several times the parents might not understand even a single sentence of English but they want their child to learn this foreign language, that too from primary level replacing their mother tongue. Sincere attempts are made to get the child admitted in English medium school. There is a sense of immense satisfaction to see the child flawlessly speak English, though he might be very weak in his own mother tongue. This issue concerned many people in Goa half a decade back who realised the seriousness of letting foreign language intrude in our educational set up. It was imminent for them that this language will have devastating effect on our mother tongue as the child will not be able to understand the basic concepts during his learning process. This was a trigger for agitation demanding mother tongue be made as medium of instruction. The likeminded people from every field joined hands in this agitation. The medium of instruction became the core issue. When such an important fight was being played out in Goa, how can the drama, films and television serials remain isolated from crucial cultural agitation? It is around the same time ‘Kala Chetana’ Volvoi came forward to contribute for the cause through the medium they have mastered – drama. They knew very well that it was easy to convince people through audio-visual medium as it touches their heart. The issue of medium of instruction was conceived in the form of a drama and it gave birth to ‘Firangi Fatas.’ This was in the year 2012 when medium of instruction issue was at its peak. When the state was discussing this issue on every forum, the drama itself became a revolution. It was inevitable that the drama had cascading political effect on the then State government. For the elections, the government was defeated replacing it with another one. But issue remained unsolved even in the new regime. The drama continued touching hearts at hundreds of places, but the stand of the government remained unchanged on the issue. The makers of this drama thought not to give up and their attempt continues even till now.
The drama which was unveiled in the year 2012 will have its 234th show at Rajiv Kala Mandir, Ponda on June 18. Incidently, that is a day celebrated as a revolution day in the State. It is a record of sorts that the drama has been running for so long creating records after records, but certainly it is disheartening that the political system remains rigid towards the cause. Rajdeep Naik, the brain behind this drama, narrates anecdotes after anecdotes on how several developments took place on the issue from 2012-2017 though politicians remain stubborn on it. As a mark of protest Rajdeep himself refused to accept State government’s ‘Yuva Srujan Award’. When new government was sworn in, they again tried to give the award which he refused. Rajdeep is firm that he won’t accept it till the issue of medium of instruction is not solved. When we speak about any revolution, we have to understand the massive undercurrent, pressure and opposition that are faced by the revolutionaries. Rajdeep and his team were not spared from it. They did not face any resistance visibly, but undercurrents were strong. But they did not let it affect the process of drama making. The drama might have failed to convince politicians to change their mentality, but it certainly managed to percolate the message to the masses. Rajdeep recalls the instances that he and his team encountered during the shows. It was his 100th show and a common man walked up to him to concede that his wife who was insisting that the child should study in English medium school changed her mind after watching the play and he was admitted in Marathi medium school. It is touching that the child now is a topper in the state. The drama maker feels that the achievement of the play can be measured if it can change even a single life. Penned by renowned writer Pundalik Naik, the play underwent few changes in its script and its sequel was relaunched with title ‘Partun Firangi Fatas’ (Firangi Fatas Once again). On June 18, the sequel of the drama would be played at Ponda. Despite several discouraging moments, Kala Chetana has not lost the steam towards this issue. They still feel that the differences can be made with audio-visual medium. Their faith is what drives them. It is interesting that the play with the universal theme of learning through mother tongue has been showcased outside Goa too including that in Delhi where audience gave thumping response to it. Rajdeep expressed that they will try to conduct shows at the maximum possible places so that the message is played loud and clear. When asked about his reaction about his language, Rajdeep quipped “my mothertongue is connected to my land. The day language will die, the culture will vanish.” Team The Neutral View wishes all the best to the team of ‘Partun Firangi Fatas’ which keeps your humour quotient high for two hours while passing on an important message to preserve your mother tongue.

June 9th, 2017

Posted In: entertainment

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