The Ashes Of Pleasure

How the curtains came down on Calcutta’s professional theatre

01 September 2014
Minerva theatre, which was renovated several times after being built in 1893, is located in the heart of Calcutta’s red-light district.
DINODIA
Minerva theatre, which was renovated several times after being built in 1893, is located in the heart of Calcutta’s red-light district.
DINODIA

MY MEMORY OF THAT EVENING IS FUZZY, and strangely cinematic, the way childhood memories often are. The play was over and we were in the lobby of the theatre, which throbbed with light and the familiar bustle of people at the end of a show. I’m not sure exactly how old I was. But I distinctly remember the chill that went through me as I stepped out of the lobby and saw, looming before me, a sandwich board of the kind restaurants place outside their entrances. On it was a strange sort of menu:

Bombaywalli: Rupees 900

Dilliwalli: Rupees 800

Saikat Majumdar is the author, most recently, of the novel, The Firebird (2015). He has also published a book of criticism, Prose of the World (2013), and an earlier novel, Silverfish (2007). He teaches world literature at Stanford University and is a visiting professor at Ashoka University.

Keywords: Calcutta IPTA professional theatre
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