Leave a comment

Play Review: Hayavadana

A face/off set in the world of mythology and folklore

By Zafar Anjum

H(138of317)

Conceptualised by: Monisha Charan and Dr Siri Rama
Executive producer & Director: Monisha Charan
Artistic director and choreographer: Dr Siri Rama

 

Girish Karnad’s play Hayavadana is considered one of the landmark works in the annals of Indian theatre. The play brings about the interplay of questions of love, identity and sexuality through a panoply of characters set in a world of mythology and folklore.

Recently, Izaara Productions brought this famous play alive on stage in Singapore under the skilful direction of Monisha Charan.

Hayavadana

The play’s director Monisha Charan (right) with the High Commissioner of India in Singapore, Mr. Jawed Ashraf (Centre) and Mr. Abhay Charan (left).

The play began with a brief narration on the play’s antecedents: one of the influences behind the play was Thomas Mann’s The Transposed Heads, which in turn was borrowed from a Kathasaritasagara story. In keeping with the spirit of the play, Monisha Charan paid a rich tribute to the myths and legends of the Hindu religion.

The plot revolves around two parallel stories, both involving questions of love and identity (the heart and the head). In the main track, a well-built kshatriya, Kapila (Avtar Bhullar), finds that his best friend Devadatta (Justin Lee) has madly fallen in love with Padmini (Dr. Siri Rama). Although Kapila harbours an attraction for Padmini, his love and loyalty stands above all; he arranges the match for Devadatta and Padmini and they get married.

The director has made sure that the two actors present a contrast in their physicality and demeanour: Kapila is a Kshatriya with a muscular and manly appearance; Devadatta is a learned Brahmin and poet with a weak physique. The playwright cleverly poses the question to the audience: what if their physicalities are switched? What if the weak Brahmin poet becomes muscular and the sinewy warrior takes the body of the weak poet? Are they happy in their new avatars? What happens to Padmini’s love in that case?

H(38of317)

Subtly, the play comments on the rigidity of the caste system which imposes a hierarchy on people. Along with the main track, the sub-plot features the Hayavadana (the horse-man), played with gusto by De Zhong Chia, who is unhappy because he feels incomplete with the face of a horse and the body of a man; yet, he is the object of affection of a beautiful lady, played by Renita Kapoor. I wish this track had more layers to it, as we find in the main track.

Continue reading

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Storytelling: From kitchen to public space

Jnanpith award winner Girish Karnad traced the tradition of storytelling to its evolution as a folklore and ballad to eventually form the bedrock of culture.

In this context, he highlighted the contribution of poet and folklorist A.K. Ramanujan for his scholarly pursuit of oral traditions and for systematically studying them.

Mr. Karnad was delivering the inaugural lecture of the Mysuru Literature Festival here on Sunday. It was organised by the Mysuru Literary Forum Charitable Trust and Books Club-2015.

Read More


Leave a comment

Heading to JLF 2017? Writers and poets pick sessions you must attend

By Aruveetil Mariyam Alavi and Supriya Sharma

Five days of literature. The most read authors and poets. The most fascinating discussions. Indian literature’s mammoth mela, the Jaipur Literature Festival, is never short of excitement. The festival, which will run from January 19 to January 23 this year, creates a problem of plenty for its eager visitors: there is too much to do, too many authors to hear, too many discussions to attend.

So before you make your must-attend-at-JLF lists, take a look at what authors, poets and other participants are looking forward to the most this year.

Namita Gokhale is one of the forces that has kept the Jaipur Literature Festival running smoothly over the years. As a writer and publisher, who is also one of the founder directors of JLF, she has some fond memories of the festival over the years.

“So many memories, layered and imprinted in my mind and heart. The keynote addresses from some of the greatest Indian writers, including Mahasweta Devi, UR Ananthamurthy, Girish Karnad, Nayantara Sahgal and so many others. The years when it rained and poured and the festival just continued calmly despite the mud and sludge. Gloria Steinem drinking chai in a kulhad, listening in to the front lawn sessions. Margaret Atwood and her sparkling mind,” she remembers. Read more

Source: Hindustan Times


Leave a comment

Tata Literature Live festival: Talks, performances to feast on from November 17

Over 130 writers and thinkers like John Gray, Amitav Ghosh, Simon Armitage and former finance minister, P Chidambaram will be a part of the seventh edition of the Tata Literature Live! festival from November 17-20.

The festival will be held at two venues — the NCPA and Prithvi Theatre. Those listed for this edition include Nicholas Shakespeare, literary critic and descendant of William Shakespeare; John Gray, political philosopher and author of False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism; Ramachandra Guha, Indian historian and Padma Bhushan recipient; Simon Armitage, the sardonically witty British poet, famous for the dramatisation of the Greek epic poem The Odyssey; former minister and writer, Jairam Ramesh, Girish Karnad, Keki Daruwalla, Kiran Nagarkar and Jayant Narlikar, besides Gulzar and Karan Johar. Read more


2 Comments

Jaipur Literature Festival: Debating the need for a fine line between artistic freedom & insulting beliefs

Playwright and actor Girish Karnad best summed up the danger facing writers: not electronic screens, but the forces that want to destroy books. The issue has such resonance now that a session at the annual Jaipur Literature Festival on whether commerce was killing good writing morphed into a dialectic on how far one’s freedom of speech extends.

Read More


Leave a comment

Art Matters: Bangalore’s Festival of Literature

he Bangalore Literature Festival 2014 or BLF, held between September 26 and September 28, was dedicated to litterateur UR Ananthamurthy, who passed away recently. Authors like Girish Karnad, Chandrashekhara Kambar, Arun Shourie, Leila Seth, Gulzar, Ramachandra Guha, Nayantara Sehgal and Jerry Pinto participated in this year’s festival. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Indian playwright Girish Karnad protests against the “dirty tricks” of an Indian newspaper

GIRISH_KARNADJnanpith award winning director and playwright Girish Karnad suddenly found himself in the eye of a storm when the Times of India quoted him as giving a good chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even though he had earlier been a strong critic of the BJP leader and then Gujarat chief minister.

TOI quoted him as saying, “Narendra Modi is our Prime Minister, and we should accept it. I had expressed reservations about the post-Godhra carnage in Gujarat when Modi was chief minister. But after that, there have been no incidents to bring him a bad name. He has provided good governance.” Continue reading