Theatre troupe BotTola staged the play ‘Khona’ at the Experimental Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on June 26. ‘Khona’, written by Samina Luthfa and directed by Mohammad Ali Haider, was dedicated to writer and activist Jahanara Imam on her 25th death anniversary.
The play began on a pleasant note with noticeably effervescent energy levels being displayed by performers on stage. The entire space was thoroughly used by the cast as they ran and danced around throughout the duration of the play. The astrologer’s character, played by Mohammad Ali Haider, dominated the first few scenes of the play, where his rage and powerful performance perfectly complimented his character.
However, as soon as the limelight shifted to the character Leelabati, also known as Khona, Kazi Roksana Ruma stole the show with her lively performance. Dressed in the colour of nature – green, Ruma effortlessly embodied Khona’s spirit. The clarity of her voice did justice to what Khona was known for – her bochon (words). In the end, however, her words were taken away from her through the most gruesome means. Khona’s story stands testament to society’s collective effort to historically silence the voices of women.
BotTola’s Khona, overall, was an absolute treat. It celebrated Khona’s optimism, courage and intelligence beautifully. Humour and music played instrumental roles in the play. A popular bochon by Khona regarding frogs, rain and nature was presented through songs, making the play more entertaining. Even the dull moments had their own elements of unique music. The cast and crew of Khona included Evan Riaz, Sheyuti Shahgufta, Taufique Hassan, Humayun Azam Rewaz, and Mahbub Masum, among others.