BANA Houston Stages a Vibrant Drama: Ugna-Vidyapati

By Vinay Karna

HOUSTON: While Houstonians were reeling through thanksgiving dinner amid sprinkling rains, drama performers were rehearsing for a vibrant drama. On November 26, 2022, the performers, under the banner of Bihar Association of North America (BANA), performed a mesmerizing drama Ugna – Vidyapati, a tale of Bhavanipur, at the auditorium of Houston Durgabadi Society at 13944 Schiller Road, Houston, Texas.

Joined by about 150 or so audience, drama started at around 8 PM and lasted for about one hour. The young village girls (Diya Anand and Sweta Gupta), sensing the arrival of a guest Ugna (Arnav Singh) in disguise of a domestic help, sang and danced to welcome Ugna. Mahakavi Pandit Vidyapati (Bidhu Prakash), wife Sushila (Amrita Srivastav), and daughter Lakshmi (Raina Jha) assimilated him as part of the family. Contemporary King of Oiniwar dynasty in Mithila (the birthplace of Goddess Sita and Her father King Janak) Shiv Simha Singh (Atul Sinha) and Mahamantri (Sumeet Anand) were bolstering Veena recital (Mridula Karna), and Vidyapati’s song gayan (Rajeev Jha) in their kingdom. By intuition, the King realized to call upon Pandit Vidyapati and to award him appropriately.

Hearing this news, Ugna and Pandit Vidyapati started for the kingdom. On his way, in the jungle, Vidyapati felt thirsty. Ugna secretly changed his guise to Mahadev (Pranay Anand), took water from His Jata (hair), came back to Vidyapati, and offered water. Vidyapati realized it was Gangajal (holy water) and requested Ugna to disclose his identity. Ugna changed to the form of Mahadev, disclosed (Binay Anand, voice of Mahadev) His identity, and requested Vidyapati not to disclose His identity to anybody, should Vidyapati want Him to be with him. Vidyapati assured Him for the same.

On arrival in the Kingdom, King and Mahamantri gave them lot of rewards. Time passes. One day, Sushila became itchy of Ugna’s behavior and beat him in a friendly encounter. Vidyapati, in his excitement, disclosed Ugna’s identity to Sushila. Hence, Ugna disappeared. Family started crying and searching using hand drawn pictures (portrayed by Ruchi Tiwari) of Ugna. Mahadev appeared, consoled them, and gave them Shiv Linga to be placed in a Ugna Mahadev Temple at Bhavanipur, Madhubani in Bihar. Soon after, King and Mahamantri approached Vidyapati and declared him the Raj-Kavi. The family still could not recover from sorrow of Ugna’s departure. Sutradhar (Sweta Gupta) closed this drama in a very emotional manner, narrating agony (voiced by Deepshikha Karna) of the family.

Written and directed by Vinay Karna, makeup and costumes designed by Mridula Karna, and Ravi Puri, and a very professionally audio visual managed by the full team, this drama reflects the story of Mahakavi Vidyapati in and around fourteen century AD. Vidyapati wrote many songs, and poems in Maithili, and Bengali languages. He and his devoted wife were blessed by their “Aaradhya Ugna-Mahadev” and hence patronized by many kings around the time, prominent was King Shiv Shimha Singh.

BANA Houston performs its annual cultural extravaganza around this time. Among other sequels of the classical and Bollywood songs and dances, it has produced many of such dramas in the past, glorifying known or unsung heroes of ancient Bihar. “We are thrilled to see how our home-grown performers give their best amid shortest time they can spare from daily lives,” says President Ravi Ranjan. Sumeet Anand, and Madhu Tiwari, the coordinators of the event, thanked the volunteers who put their maximum efforts to make drama and the cultural festival a grand success. “The drama would not have been successful without the contributions of volunteers including Alok Singh, Sanjay Kumar, Ravi Choudhary, Santosh Verma, Kumar Sambhav, Anil Mishra, Dolly Jha, Rekha Gupta, Tripti Jha, and Amrita Srivastav, to name a few,” they added.

For any information related to BANA Houston activities, please contact the executive committee at This news article is written by Vinay Karna in his individual capacity. Content of this drama and article is inspired by the acts, the themes taken from the internet, and imaginatively changed as suited to the audience in the sole view of the writer and hence reported as such.