The message of the play left the audience dumbfounded
The fifth anniversary of `KrishnaKriti Festival of Arts and Culture' in memory of late Krishna Chandra Lahoti, under the aegis of Kalakriti art gallery was organised at Ravindra Bharati, Hyderabad recently.
On this occasion, a play named Choli ke peeche kya haiin Hindi, based on a short story titled Stan Dahiniwritten by Mahasweta Devi was performed by the Budhan theatre group from Charanagar, Gujarat.
Mahasweta Devi is known for her experimental social documentary short stories. They are based on carefully researched historical records, investigative journalism, and active field work in the country side.
Stan Dahini which means `breast giver' written in the mode of social realism is a tragic story of a main character named Jashoda, whose husband is disabled and hence the burden of running the house falls on the lady.
Jashoda, in order to feed a family of 17 members, agrees to be a wet nurse to feed the children of a rich person of the village. She remains to be pregnant through out her life to feed the rich man's children, by getting food and clothes in return, and in turn supports her family.
However, she suffers from breast cancer and the family including her disabled husband deserts her and she dies unattended. The pain with which she calls her children to help her, fall on deaf ears and ironically shows how the real mothers are ignored in society.
The play directed by Alok Gagdekar, an NSD product was presented well, though it seemed too loud at times and crude in depiction which put off the audience. It also showed a little amateurish portrayal of the play by the group. Such serious plays need more control on the emotions and should be more subdued.
The use of two artistes to portray Jashoda was meant to give the mirror image and also to highlight the character. The dance form used in the play and the narration style was NSD style of presentation. The settings were simple and apt for the play. The posters of heroines, goddesses as part of the setting ironically portray the society, who worships them, but not the real mother.
However, the two characters that played the role of Jashoda, had lot of energy, and gave a good performance. Kalpana, Sandip, Jeetendra, Sushil, Ankur, Atish, Nikhil, Rinamshu, Hitesh, Trushikraj and Anish were the artistes who performed in the play.
The invitees who came with their family members were dumbfounded with the seriousness of the play that many of them walked out in the middle of the play, not understanding what the play was about?
C. SURESH KUMAR