Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal is now-a-days drawing crowds not for her political talks or campaigns, but in a new avatar through folklores. She has now become the most prominent theme of several ‘Jatras ‘or folk-dramas being organised in rural part of the state.

The leader is being showcased in her myriad hues in these dramas.

“More than the mass leader's dramatic political rise, her next-door-girl image and the promise of 'paribartan' or change have captured the imagination of rural people,” heads of several jatra companies said, adding “Didi is very famous in rural Bengal.”

“The dramas have become the most popular method to bring the leader close to the masses and make them aware of her in a better way,” said one drama producer.

The names of the plays are as varied as the moods of Mamata: Banglar Masnade Mamata (Mamata on Bengal Throne), Banglar Kshamatay Ebar Mamata (Mamata in power now), Swapner Netri Mamata (the dream leader) are some of the names that have become very popular among the simple rural folks.
       
Ashok Dey, who wrote the script of 'Banglar Masnade Mamata', said, "It is the tale of a girl-next-door who metamorphoses into a fighter and a mass leader to win people's heart." He claimed that the play had evoked tremendous response wherever it had been staged.
   
Sita Ghosh, who plays the role of Mamata in the jatra, recalls how she feels awkward for being mistaken as the real 'didi' by the simple folks. "I am even approached by some to address their day-to-day problems at the end of the show," she said laughing.

For the production of 'Banglar Kshamatay Ebar Mamata', the producers have been receiving at least 15-20 calls from the organisers this winter - the winter and spring being the ideal time to hold the plays.
   
Producer of the jatra K Bhattacharya said the play traced her political journey from 1984 when she defeated CPI-M heavyweight Somnath Chatterjee in the Jadavpore parliamentary seat to her headlines grabbing movements in Nandigram and Singur.
   
The lead actor of the play, Ruma Chakraborty, said, "I have sought to portray the spartan life of 'didi' here."

Chakraborty, whose physical similarity with Mamata clad in a simple dhaniakhali saree and hawai slippers, is remarkable, recollects how villagers took up the local development issue with her after the show and it was hard to explain she was only enacting a role.
   
Despite not having direct link to the firebrand leader, 'Swapner Netri Mamata' is also drawing crowds in south Bengal districts, said its lead actor Mohua Bhattacharjee.
   
(JPN/Bureau/Agencies)