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Different Passions of Ramkinkar

A versatile genius, Ramkinkar Baij had been an artist of dynamic temperament, who enjoyed exploring new alleys instead of sticking to a set type of sculpture or painting. Therefore he always took delight in aesthetic adventure and experimented with diverse forms in search of new vocabulary. In this context it is significant that even he boosted his artistic enthusiasm in drama and music also.

 Ramkinkar had an intense passion for drama. Since childhood he was not only fond of theatre shows but also eagerly participated in rehearsal, acting and even drawing backdrops of stage. He was delighted to see “Sharoshi” and “Sita” directed by renowned dramatist and star actor late Sishir Bhadury. His interest for drama was not reduced even in his later days. He took active part in staging different dramas. According to litterateur Amitava Chowdhury, 'Besides painting and sculpture, Ramkinkar had great fascination for drama. He not only decorated the stage but took active part in direction whenever any drama of Rabindranath Tagore or Abanindranath Tagore was to be staged in Shantiniketan. He taught the actors how to throw dialogues, how to move in the stage during the rehearsals. In 1946, 'Bansari' was staged at Shantiniketan and Kinkar da did the makeup of the artists in addition to direction. Once he staged 'Ha Ja Ba Ra La' written by Sukumar Ray, with the students of Kalabhavana. He himself directed the music of the drama and Kinkar da aaded a song at the end of the drama. It was a fantastic performance (Excerpts from 'Natuke Ramkinkar' written by Amitava Chowdhury).

Like drama Ramkinkar had attraction for music too. Many persons still remember the unparalleled Rabindrasangeet in his voice. I once got the opportunity to hear a few lines of a song and could feel his devotion to music. The renowned Rabindrasangeet singer Smt. Suchitra Mitra expressed her experience on 11th June 2006 in a Ramkinkar Baij centenary celebration programme arranged by “Mukhomukhi”. She told that Kinkar da was very fond of music, especially Rabindrasangeet. Often he used to tell Smt. Mitra, to sing a song and suddenly started singing with her, his vibrant voice is still alive in her memory.

Ramkinkar had great affection for Smt. Mitra, who told her, “I will make your portrait”. After a few days he made a half bust statue of Suchitra Mitra and presented her. She carefully preserved his outstanding work of art for long years, but one day accidentally it was destroyed. While narrating this fact at Rabindrasadan, Kolkata, her voice choked and she expressed her repentance.

The renowned sculptor Sarbari Roy Chowdhury in his article 'Ramkinkar' published in 'Anyamane' had also written about the artist's profound passion for music- “It was worth listening Rabindrasangeet in his split but emotional voice. He was spontaneous in appreciation of any form of great art. Once after returning from a musical recital by Faiz Khan he was overwhelmed and said what a voluminous voice Khan Shaheb had.

Ramkinkar's interest and affinity for drama, music has no doubt enriched his knowledge as well as visual arts.

  Prasanta Daw 





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