JournaStage - Episode 3 - Athoi

‘Othello’ in Bengali Theatre with a Contemporary Aspect “ATHOI” 

Poster of "Athoi" [Courtesy: Natadha]
Poster of "Athoi" [Courtesy: Natadha]

Play’s Name- Athoi 

Based on William Shakespeare’s play ‘Othello’ 

Written and Directed by Arna Mukharjee 

Starring :

Arna Mukharjee as Athoi aka Othello 

Anirban Bhattacharya As Anagra aka Iago  

Turna Das as Diyamona aka Desdemona 

Arpan Ghoshal As Mukul aka Cassio and many others. 

Presented by Natadha 

As the original context suggests Athoi is adapted from Othello in the contemporary times with regional setting. The theme of the play addresses the Dalit issues and this makes the play more relevant. Incidents that triggered in recent times in India like that of upper caste individuals stripping Dalits with their families around the village, the humiliation of Dalit students, Rohit Vemula, and many more such real instances. In the so-called civilized privilege upper-caste society, however, there is insecurity about the rise of Dalits. They will only rise as much as the civilized upper caste society desires them to be whether they will be able to assert themselves as ‘progressive’ is the big question.  

All these reflect on the play directly or subtly. The play grips with dark mood.  

Tragic, romantic, revenge genres are explored and mainly based on caste discrimination theme. 

The framework of the story is same as the ‘Othello’, except character presentation and the setting.  

The script is the plus point of this play. The direction of Arna Mukherjee is outstanding. Use of movie songs, When the play starts, Anirban Bhattacharya comes on the stage sings from the audience’s seat “Chingari Koi bharke” to use “pyar hume kis more pe le aaya” and “babuji dhire chalna” add more essence and transports audience to another level.  

Many ghosts or witch characters can be seen in Shakespeare’s works. In this play the ghost element presented in scene changing part those are changing the props, they are playing as ghost appearance and it becomes part of the story. In every changing sequence Anirban as Anagra arranges the field of revenge. The revenge plan of Anarga has been designed well.   

Arna Mukharjee as Athoi is immaculate in his character, sturdy, loving, influenced. His acting, dancing, action everything pretty well. 

Turna das as Diyamona is good in her role, educated, open-minded, intelligent, loving. Her singing and acting is quite impressive.  

Arpan Ghoshal as Mukul is genuine. 

Lastly, Anirban Bhattacharya as Anagra is outstanding, dark, greedy, and jealous, like a pure devil with grey shades. His acting, singing, dancing, and appearance on stage, monologues, and actions everything stands out.  

Lighting and sound department complements the stage and play also, but stage design and costume is the weakest part of this play and could not complement the theme of the play and were not visually impressive.  

This play is an example of a good attempt towards the adaptation of Shakespeare in the contemporary times.  


Souvik Paul 

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