French play "Cochons d'Inde," featuring Paris-based Bangladeshi mime artiste Partha Pratim Majumder, recently received the prestigious Molière Award 2009 as the best theatre production. The play also featured popular French theatre actor Patrick Chesnais, Anna Gaylour and others. Chasnais won the Molière Award for best actor for this play.
"Cochons d'Inde," which is French for Guinea pig, is a production that falls into the category of 'absurd theatre.' An affluent French national goes to a Bank to draw money from his account. He was informed that an Indian tycoon has recently bought the bank. The new owner, who apparently is a staunch believer in the Hindu caste system, confronts and detains the French client, blaming him of breaking the caste rules. According to the bank owner, the French national's caste is 'Shudra.' The bank owner suggests that only by sharing his wealth (money in the bank account) can the Frenchman evade his impending punishment. Through absurd humour, the play thus conveys a deep social message. Chasnais plays the French citizen while Majumnder plays the Indian bank owner. Interestingly enough, all of Majumder's dialogue is in Bengali in the play. Partha Pratim Majumder moved to Paris in 1981 with a scholarship on mime. He also studied the art under the iconic French mime artiste Marcel Marceau from 1983 to '85. In Bangladesh, Majumder has been a pioneer in the field of mime. This talented mime artiste has performed in Europe, America, Asia and beyond. He has received awards such as 'Master of Mime' (by the Jogesh Mime Academy in India) and 'Master of the World' (Malaysia) and many more.
Majumder expressed his content over the play winning a Molière Award, saying, "The Molière Award is regarded as the most prestigious recognition in France after the Cannes. In the field of theatre, it is the best. Every theatre production is a teamwork, so I feel privileged to be a part of it. Added to my satisfaction is the fact that I represent the Bengali community through my character in the play.”
The play has won the award competing with almost 2000 productions.