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Home > News > Report

ULFA threatens Assamese mobile theatre groups

K Anurag in Guwahati | June 15, 2007 18:39 IST
Last Updated: June 15, 2007 18:40 IST

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The age-old indigenous mobile theatre industry of Assam is facing a threat from the proscribed United Liberation Front of Asom.

The banned militant group, which had earlied imposed a ban on screening of Hindi movies triggering closure of over 70 cinema halls in the state, has now gunned for popular mobile theatre groups in the state.

The mobile theatre groups, which are source of livelihood for thousands of workers and technicians, besides hundreds of artistes including big names in Assamese filmdom, command tremendous popularity among lakhs of viewers in the state for their techno-savvy presentation and outstanding stage performance by artistes, besides popular themes in their scripts.

The mobile theatre groups in the state have been successful in providing glimpses of many blockbusters made offshore to the rural folk in the state over the years.

For instance, the theatre groups have presented Titanic, the Hollywood blockbuster, numerous Shakespearian plays to common viewers over the years inĀ innovating ways, much to the entertainment of viewers in the state.

The people of the state eagerly await the arrival of mobile theatre groups in their towns every winter for wholesome entertainment. However, the popularity of the theatre groups notwithstanding, the banned ULFA in a statement issued recently threatened to force closure of theatre groups if the latter don't stop aping Bollywood movies for 'cheap popularity.'

The ULFA has directed the groups to focus on production of good taste that will not breed degeneration of the culture in the state for the sake of younger generation.

While a larger section of owners of the mobile theatre groups has chosen to adopt a wait and watch policy against the ULFA diktat, some prominent groups have reacted sharply to it.

Ratan Lahkar, owner of the most popular Kohinoor Theatre Group and a pioneer in the field while talking to a local TV channel in Guwahati lambastedĀ ULFA for trying to bully age-old mobile theatre groups.

He dismissed ULFA's allegation against mobile theatre groups saying that these theatre groups had never tried to spoil the cultural environment of the state and that they had taken care to maintain high-standards and taste in their productions.

Krishna Rai, owner of popular Abahan Mobile Theatre group, said the ULFA shouldn't have resorted to issuing threat to the indigenous theatre industry. "The ULFA if it wishes may issue guidelines and code of conduct for the perusal of theatre groups," he said.