Quest for perfection

Adding to the narrative: N. Ravikumar. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.  

Girish Karnad's play “Hayavadana” is universal in its approach. The stories of Devadatta, Kapila and Padmini will resonate with the audience for its multi-pronged approach to human relationships. Top Cast theatre group presents “Hayavadana” in English today.

N. Ravikumar, the director of the play, explains why he chose to stage “Hayavadana”. “The play was originally written in Kannada and later translated to English. Most of the English-speaking audience in Bangalore, however, have not seen this play. I had directed the play ten years ago and chose to stage it again for its unique plot. It is based on an Indian folk lore, unlike English plays that have a Western setting and characters. So I believe this play will touch many on a profound level. Each time I have read or directed this play, new meanings have been revealed.”

For the production, Ravikumar used recorded music, composed by Raghu Dixit. “Raghu composed the music for this play ten years ago when I had first directed it. It adds considerably to the narrative,” says the veteran with over three decades experience in theatre.

Ravikumar explains that the play addresses man's quest for perfection amid imperfection, but this search is futile as life isn't ever complete, leaving much to be sought. “The desire for perfection is insatiable.”

Talking about the plot, Ravikumar says: “A man with a human body and a horse face wants to become complete. He goes to a Kali temple and prays that he be made complete. Kali grants his wish before he can even say that he wants to become a complete man. He becomes a complete horse, instead. He makes peace with the fact that he is a horse but he now craves that his voice be human. His desires are endless.”

Hayavadana also explores the complexities in relationships. “The play focuses on the incompleteness in terms of desire of Kapila, Devdatta and Padmini. Padmini wants a perfect husband, but Devadatta doesn't match up to this and so she starts liking Kapila, Devadatta's friend, who fulfils her idea of a perfect man. But even Kapila isn't perfect so Padmini veers towards Devadatta. The constant search for fulfilment of desires results in a tragic end.”

Another aspect of the play is the difference between the head and the body. “It also questions why should we love just one person? As humans we have multiple desires, so why should we, in the name of an institution, be attracted to one person?” says Ravikumar.

Ravikumar and his assistant director, Bhoomi, have ensured that every detail, starting from the sets to the actors' body language reflects the time period in which the play is set.

Ravikumar contends that plays, no matter how many times they are performed, never lose their essence. “Every play, when directed and performed by different people, assumes a different meaning. I have seen this with every play I have directed from Vijay Tendulkar's ‘Silence! The court is in session! To the Kannada play, ‘Jokumaraswamy'.”

Hayavadana will be performed on Saturday at MLR Convention Centre, Whitefield. Tickets are priced at Rs 500, 300, 200 and are available at,,, and

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 8:23:55 PM |

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