Ratan Lahkar was the man who had tried to reflect the heritage, culture and social behaviour of Assam through theatre and the founder of Kohinoor Theatre. His demise at the age of 77 years marked the end of an era in the cultural sphere of Assam. He founded the popular mobile theatre – Kohinoor Theatre – at Pathsala in 1976 with Krishna Roy, who is now the producer of Abahan Theatre of Pathsala, a town which soon became the hub of Assamese mobile theatre. Lahkar entered the world of theatre through Nataraj Theatre. But later in 1979, he took the responsibility as a producer of Kohinoor Theatre and till today the theatre group is running successfully.
The journey of Ratan Lahkar
Born in 1940 in Barpeta district’s Patshala, the hub of Bhramyaman theatre, Lahkar had been inclined towards the theatrical arts from a young age. Starting his primary education in Rampur LP School, Lahkar went on to complete his BA from Cotton College in 1964 and did his MA in Political Science from Sougarh University in 1967. He started his career as an actor in Purbajyoti Theatre in 1971 with the help of Rudra Choudhury on a salary of Rs 400 per month. Later he acted in Nataraj Theatre on request by Achyut Lahkar. He also came in touch with famous theatre personalities like Bishnu Rabha, Phani Sarma.
Lahkar established the Kohinoor Theatre Company in 1976 to make innovative use of technology and story-telling. He introduced double and triple acting in the mobile theatre genre. Some of his innovations like making a tall actor play the role of a dwarf took the audience by surprise. He is also credited with taking Bhramyaman theatre beyond Assam and giving audiences a taste of Dostoevsky, Sophocles and Shakespeare but without forgetting to stage original Assamese plays.
He also brought the Atlantic Ocean on stage be performing the famous movie Titanic which even surprised people from Hollywood. He introduced double acting on stage and the famous movie Jurassic Park on live stage. In Breaking News, 3D technology was used in mobile theatre in Assam (Pathsala) for the first time on live stage in 2016.
Words- Nabarun Guha