Italian documentary on 19th century Bengali thespian

Kolkata, April 17 (IANS) Italians will get a taste of Bengali culture with a documentary feature showcasing the life and times of 19th century Bengali theatre actress Binodini Dasi, popularly known as Notee Binodoni, to be shot in Kolkata and Italy, said a Neapolitan theatre director and actress Wednesday.

“I came to know about this great actress from Bengal, Binodini Dasi, and I decided her story needs to be told. The idea is stuck in my mind,” said Cristina Donadio, leading theatre director and actress from Naples, Italy.

“I will do the initial shooting in real locations in Kolkata and then go back to Italy for the remaining part,” Donadio added.

The documentary will highlight the trials and tribulations of the legendary actress, who was born to prostitution and started her career as a courtesan. She eventually went on to portray around 80 roles on stage in a career spanning 12 years.

Binodini, who was blessed by Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, was renowned for being one of the first South Asian actresses to have published her autobiography ‘Aamar Kathaa’, that explored the burgeoning theatre in Bengal influenced by Europe.

According to Donadio, Italian audiences like to watch “unconventional” plays that are “rooted in tradition”.

“We form a corner group that has to put up against cinema that portray women as sex objects,” Donadio said.

Donadio will bring to Kolkata her group Teatro Stabile Di Napoli’s play ‘I Clytemnestra’ and ‘The Verdict’ at the week-long Bratyajon International Theatre Festival here starting April 18.

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