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Victor Banerjee keen to work in Assam's roving theatre

By Syed Zarir Hussain, IANS

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From Hollywood films to acting in travelling theatres of Assam can be a heady mix, but for celebrated actor Victor Banerjee it will be a dream come true.

"I would love to work for mobile theatres in Assam provided the roles are meaningful," Banerjee told IANS in an interview.

Brought up in Assam, Banerjee spent the early years of his life growing up watching mobile theatres in Assamese language in a state where his father was a tea planter.

"I got some very fond memories of Assam and I still consider my roots back in this state where I grew up," said the Indian actor who starred in films such as "A Passage to India".

"I wish I could restore some old glory of the mobile theatres in Assam which I thoroughly enjoyed watching while I was young."

There are more than 30 roving theatres in Assam that have entertained audiences for hundreds of years.

Apart from enacting powerful themes, the travelling theatres are famous for their ingenious special effects. But their survival is largely due to the lack of local cinemas, or any other form of entertainment, in rural areas.

These theatres are a mini community of about 100 people consisting of actors, technicians and cooks who travel from village to village for a full six months each year beginning September.

"I am still associated with the jatras (travelling theatres) of West Bengal and enjoy every bit of it," Banerjee said.

Despite settling down in Kolkata, the versatile actor still maintains a special bond with Assam - he visits the state frequently to supervise a blind school set up by his father in eastern Assam's Moran town 32 years ago.

"I visit the school regularly to ensure that all is well there and try and help out the students and teachers in whatever way possible," he said.

Speaking a smattering of Assamese, Banerjee is keen to work in a language movie in the state.

"I have never acted in an Assamese film. But if I get some good and meaningful role, I am open to the idea," he said.


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