SATF Introduces the Bangla Play – A Time Machine

Nautanki: Could you tells us little about your Theatre group?

Asim: Well, our theatre group is really an informal one. We group together with interested participants from the Sydney Bengali community as and when a particular project demands. We’ve been performing Bengali plays at the annual drama festival in Sydney organised by Bengali Association of NSW for the past nine years. We have also performed ten minute English plays at the Short+Sweet Sydney Theatre festival for the last five years. This year we were successful to win our group stage and get into the finals (as top 10 out of 160 plays) at this festival.

Nautanki : How did you get involved with South Asian Theatre Festival (SATF) 2016?

Asim: Neel Banerjee, the founder and artistic director of Nautanki Theatre, asked me earlier this year if I’ll be interested to participate in SATF 2016. The concept of presenting a number of plays in different languages to the audience with a common cultural thread appeared to me a very innovative idea well worth giving a try. My cast members were equally enthusiastic.

Nautanki: How many cast are in your play?

Asim: The play has four cast comprising an elderly couple and a younger couple.

Nautanki: Why people should come and see A Time Machine?

Asim: The play is written by Mr. Bratya Basu, a well-known playwright of contemporary Bengali plays. The play deals with our age old desire to be able to look at our past as well as future at the press of a button if only we had a perfect time machine. However, as the play reveals, how you deal with the reality of our lives at the present.

This will be the very first staging of this play in Sydney. The ten minute English version (done by myself) of this play has also been selected to be performed in the Short+Sweet Sydney Theatre festival in 2017.


Asim Das is a man of many talents and this time he will take you on journey to future.

Big Bang Season End for 2016

2016-10-11-20-53-42Now this year has gone so fast and everyone agrees with it. We at Nautanki have been working on this exciting project for quite some time now. A cross culture experience to wider audience is our goal and that’s when South Asian Theatre Festival (SATF as we like to call it) idea was conceived.

This is the first year for SATF and we hope we will continue on this journey, we will showcase three or more short plays in its native tongue. For audience it a one of kind experience to see something different in 90 minutes and all under one roof.

I have to give you couple of reasons why should you attend.  A) This is event bringing something new to our community, we are introducing the concept Pay – as- you- think, where you will evaluate the performances and pay what you like. B) Is for theatre lovers who will see and will receive a charming experience and to watch something extra-ordinary without the language they are familiar with.

Let me tell you what’s in our basket. A Bangla play directed by Asim Das will represent Bengalis from India and Bangladesh, a Tamil play directed by N.K. Srini that will find common lingual identity of migrants from South India and Sri Lanka and a Marathi play directed by Napoleon Almeida who has Goan background. This festival is hopes to bring community together and appreciate each other’s art form

Thanks to Riverside Theatre in Parramatta who will be hosting this year festival. This 2 days festival will be held from Thursday 24th and Friday 25th November 2016 at 7.30 pm.


Collect Entry Tickets on 02-8839 3399

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Sharon Rundle reviews Bedtime Story

The energy in this performance of Bedtime Story is palpable. The beginning and ending work extremely wSharon_Kiran_UWSell. It must have  been a hugely difficult task to edit Nagakar’s play to a reasonable length for Sydney  audiences.

The undoubted star is Avantika Tomar who plays princess Draupadi, a challenging role,  with  great skill and credibility. Tomar injects drama into her performance without tipping  into  melodrama. She is a forceful presence on the stage; and has perfect diction and voice  projection. I thought her performance faultless.

Other standout performances are by Neel Banerjee and Suparna Mallick who have charisma as well as that elusive quality of stage presence and the ability to make the role their own. Also Rhea Daithankar and the narrator/commentator who added his own unique dimension to the play. “Krishna” is portrayed with suitable impudence.

The excellent creative use of space had performers popping up from unexpected places, which kept the audience on their toes.

While some actors had convincing facial expressions and body language, their diction and/or voice projection let them down, making it difficult for the audience to hear their lines.

The first half of the play might be somewhat confusing at times for those not familiar with the stories of the Mahabharata. Perhaps the narrator/commentator, who already interacts with the audience, could provide more commentary on the myths and backstory, to complement the visual projections? The second half is tight, focused and easier to follow. It had great impact.

Who knows, maybe the play might encourage people to read some of the Mahabharata, which is now even available on ibooks? It’s great to see the India-Australia connection growing and developing through the arts.

Congratulations to Director Joyraj Bhattacharjee, to Neel Banerjee and to all the cast and crew for bringing a new exciting dimension to Australian theatre.

Sharon Rundle June 2015

Photo: Sharon Rundle and Kiran Nagarkar in 2012 at UWS

Actor Naveen Robert writes

When I first read the play I sort of got the gist, but from day to day practice it has begun to emerge as masterfully scripted with cutting edge insight into the dark side of human nature that dresses up in conniving niceness and charm to serve greed, ambition and blind personal interest at the cost of true advancement.
It is a play that strips bare to reveal the cruelty, injustice, temporal greed, exploitation, deception and abuse of ill gotten privilege dressing itself up as something good, the same as found in today’s world and which continues to undermine humanity’s true entitlements of happiness and the things that really matter.
It may appear trite to say, but is true: No-one really wins. Everyone loses a war. And that for a long time to follow. The aftermath being a hard and painful way to undergo some measure of awakening from spoon fed carrot and stick fantasies that keeps us all chained to the marketing ploys of unscrupulous and sophisticated thieves that invariably seek to rule, but lack the qualifications that count. 
Kiran Nagarkar’s BEDTIME STORY transcends the ages and holds a mirror up to human conscience for those with the guts to confront the pain of truth and the extent to which they too are either to some extent guilty or have been beguiled. Or both.
I sincerely hope we actors can do the play justice.

Sanjeev Raja writes his experiences working with Nautanki Theatre

Nautanki Theatre takes its work very seriously and aims for excellence in approaching the subjects for their plays  and  performSanjeev_Photoers. Despite being on shoe string budget they aim for the best. Selection of good venues, and the  quality of performance is always in their thoughts. They have a permanent venue completely dedicated    for the performing arts. The lighting and set designs are innovative and their quality is not compromised.  This theatre company does not hesitate to get the best person for the job even if the  person has to be  brought from overseas. There is clarity of purpose and thought process in all that is done here.

This is the 3rd production that I am involved with in this group. The actors and performers are respected and well treated. They are encouraged to perform and given a free hand and have their say in their understanding their characters. The group gels well without being overbearing and still leaving space to expand. I have seen some very good actors and some very good learners in this group. The facilities are at the rehearsal venue are good and kept clean. Actors are not under undue pressure from directors and fellow actors. This is a good group to work with and it is a place for any level of talent. The values are kept simple and the focus is on the forthcoming productions and bigger horizons.

A message from Avantika Tomar

Fourteen days before the first show and I am already quite certain of having withdrawal symptoms post June 6th. That’s how much I have liked the whole experience of working with fellow actors from the play, the crew at Nautanki Theatre and most of all, our fabulous director.

Bedtime StoryAvantika_Photo has had tremendous impact on me as an actor and definitely reinforces some of my beliefs  in and about life. It is one of the more challenging plays I have done and the fact that I am playing three  characters, each of them very distinct, doesn’t make my job any easier. For those who are familiar with  the  Mahabharatha, I am playing Draupadi from the epic, her corresponding modern day Hindu character  named Rupali and Muslim character named Salma. I have pushed myself as an actor in this play and am  certainly doing things that a month back I would not have considered myself to be capable of. The parallel plots in the play, the religious and political undertone in them, and the deconstruction of an age old epic and what it means to an Avantika Tomar of 2015 have all sort of grown on me.

The journey has most definitely been evolutionary and I have enjoyed sharing the road with Joyraj Bhattacharjee and some amazing actors. From a Hindi names pronunciation class to a moving dead body to effortless (well, not really) lifting of 60kg ‘weight’ to intense discussions on secularism, this journey would not have been as much fun without you guys. I owe a lot to all of you and look forward to working with you soon.

I came to this play later than I would have liked and found an awesome team hard at work in rehearsals. It’s great to see the play, ‘Bedtime Story ‘ taking shape in the skilled hands of the director Joyraj Bhattacharjee and production & assistant director Jeff He. The highly dedicated cast of actors are inspiring.


As I practice and study the character of Drona I’m getting deeper insights into mindsets bound by cultural context of an era that formed many outcomes. At first I disliked the character intensely. I thought him mercenary and a turncoat. Over time I began to realise he felt a duty to keep up the institutionalised face of the societal role to which he felt bound. His influence extending from within his comfort zone merely a cover for his fallibility. Just like, ‘The Big Yellow Taxi’ song, “ don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Poor decisions driven by blind beliefs held dear, once again prove erroneous. Drona put his job before those he loved (Does this sound familiar?) and following widespread devastation for which he is largely responsible, he faces painful realisations about the nature of consequences.