Completing a Musical Mono Act Play for the 1000th time is indeed a milestone in a person’s life. That is what Sangeet Natak Akademi Chairman Shekhar Sen has achieved recently.
Armed with a thorough knowledge of classical music and his love of the theatre, Sen has painstakingly and meticulously researched the great lives of Soordas, Kabeer, Vivekananda and Tulsi Das. He has mastered the art of performing them to audiences in the nooks and crannies of India as well as to global audiences.
Recently he has performed his celebrated Kabeer-a musical mono act play at Iscon, Juhu in Mumbai, to a jam-packed audience, making a record of performing his mono act play for the thousandth time.
In a lucid manner Sen enacted the life of Kabeer, the mystic poet, whose birth parents are not known and was brought up by a Muslim weaver couple Neema and Neeru, who , besides was a religious reformer, who penned couplets on profound truths in a humorous manner; preached love; a seeker of truth; an outspoken commentator and one who was a disciple of Sant Ramanand.
Shekhar Sen’s two hour play was rendered with as much ease as the flowing water of a river that knows no toil and gurgles downstream oblivious of its surroundings. The trials and tribulations of the life of Kabeer; the happy moments of the young boy playing with his friend to discover that his entry in a mosque is barred because he is a ‘kafir’; his query to his amma with tear-filled eyes why so, left me with a lump in my throat. Then again the audience was led by the hand to discover the simplicity of Kabeer, when he agrees to take his newly married bride Loyee, to her lover, whom she was not allowed to marry, only to bring her back to his hearth, when it dawns on Loyee, that she, after all, has a good husband in Kabeer. Sen steps into the boots of Kabeer with ease. He bursts into songs, dialogues, recitations et al, creating an excellent piece of work that will go down the annals of history. In the two hour long play, not for a moment does one doubt that Sant Kabeer is not in front of you. How does it all happen?
A music composer, lyricist and a playwright to boot, Sen has music in his genes, being born of parents who were renowned classical singers of Gwalior gharana. He has risen to the pinnacle of glory with both talent and hard work. With tenacity and diligence, he has set himself the task of producing his unique mono acts, which by his own admission he practices daily. He is a genius with uncommon patience and artistic sensibilities.