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Anjan Dutt mesmerizes Dhaka

  • Published at 07:30 pm July 11th, 2019
Anjan Dutt
Indian Bangali singer-songwriter, film director, and actor Anjan Dutt plays the lead role in 'Salesman’er Shongshar' on Mahila Samiti Hall’s Dr Nilima Ibrahim auditorium, in Baily Road on Tuesday evening | Courtesy

When Dutt arrived, he took a seat in the middle of the stage and picked up his guitar without uttering a single word. He then began singing his famous track Amar Janla, and the crowd went wild. Some screamed at the tops of their lungs, while others openly wept after becoming overwhelmed with emotion. After the song, Dutt finally addressed the crowd. With a tear in his eye, he explained that 40-60% of his fans were Bangladeshis(in the US, Australia, Canada and all over the world), and it was an honour to perform for them

After months of anticipation, legendary Indian Bangali singer-songwriter, film director, and actor Anjan Dutt’s play Salesman’er Shongshar hit the stage at Mahila Samiti Hall’s Dr Nilima Ibrahim auditorium, in Bailey Road on Tuesday evening. 

Concurrently with the staging of the play, Bangladeshi writer Sajjad Hussain’s new book Nattyanjan was also launched at the event. The book was published by the event’s lead organizer, Bangladeshi publication house Chhapa Khanar Bhoot.

Previously, Sajjad Hussain had authored Anjan Dutt’s biography Anjan Jatra.

People of all ages from across the country gathered at the venue to catch a glimpse of the famous Indian Bangali singer and actor, braving traffic congestion that has been amplified by the ongoing demonstrations by rickshaw pullers in the capital. 

The play was originally scheduled to take place at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, but the venue was changed at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. This led to some confusion among audience members, as they had to change their tickets on arrival. The sold tickets were divided into two shows, one at 5:30pm and the other at 8:30pm.

When Dutt arrived, he took a seat in the middle of the stage and picked up his guitar without uttering a single word. He then began singing his famous track Amar Janla, and the crowd went wild. Some screamed at the tops of their lungs, while others openly wept after becoming overwhelmed with emotion. 

After the song, Dutt finally addressed the crowd. With a tear in his eye, he explained that 40-60% of his fans were Bangladeshis(in the US, Australia, Canada and all over the world), and it was an honour to perform for them.

The play Salesman’er Shongshar, directed by and starring Anjan Dutt, is an adaptation of Arthur Miller's famous play Death of a Salesman. Dutt himself played the lead role of Willy Loman, an ageing salesman in 1940’s New York with a wife and two sons. 

Some of the most interesting parts of the play were the beautifully executed depictions of flashbacks describing Willy Loman’s life when he was younger, highlighting his internal struggle and need to appear successful. Overall, the play was an excellent Bangla adaptation of  Arthur Miller's famous play. 

Prior to the start of the show, Dutt said:  “Although I have received so much love from all of you as a singer and a film-maker, I still want to identify myself as a stage actor. This is what I have always wanted all my life, and through this play, which is my debut as a stage director, people in West Bengal have finally accepted and even praised me, saying ‘No, Anjan is finally getting hold of the stage.’ Hopefully, all of you will like this play too. This play by Miller is still so relevant all across the globe, at this time and age, that I cannot describe it in words.”  

The play is indeed a reflection of the harsh realities of the middle class everywhere in the world, where they have to work more than their physical and mental capabilities to make both ends meet. Dutt’s play Salesman’er Shongshar delivers this message in every single scene.

 Salesman’er Shongshar was first staged in Kolkata in January this year, and it was also staged at Kolkata’s Gyan Manch in April. 

Although known for his music, Dutt is also an accomplished actor, having started his career in Bangla cinema. His first film was Chalachitro, directed by Mrinal Sen, for which he won the prize for the Best Newcomer in Acting at the Venice Film Festival. He also acted in Aparna Sen's hit film Mr and Mrs Iyer. In 2018, he featured in Swapnasandhani's play Taraye Taraye, as Vincent Van Gogh, under the direction of Kaushik Sen.

He is also a national award-winning film-maker and is one of the most prominent directors of West Bengal, directing acclaimed films such as The Bong Connection, Chalo-Let's Go, and Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbona. In recent years, he directed the Byomkesh Bakshi film series.