29 July, 2021

Two Hands For A Tightrope Act

Some of Kambar’s primary concerns are reflected in these plays that use classical, folk and modern techniques: the forging of an identity pared of its technical appendages, and the need to fight insular religiosity

Two Hands For A Tightrope Act

Chandrasekhar Kambar is arguably the most formidable and the most prolific playwright in Kannada today, besides being a significant poet and novelist in the language. He is one of the few writers who have redefined modernism in Indian literature by reconnecting it with native, mostly folk, traditions and  regional histories so that they give us fresh insights into contemporary life, not to speak of providing writers with deeply communicative forms. But this does not at all mean that Kambar is a revivalist; on the other hand, he is profoundly conscious of the moral and political dilemmas of our time and uses chosen moments from history, chosen forms from folk theatre and chosen myths and fables to fight the negative aspects of colonialism, globalisation and the divisive politics of hatred flaunted by a new brand of communal politics. But he does it in truly artistic and nuanced ways suggesting rather than explaining the issues. Those who have read his earlier plays in translation, like Sirisampige, Mahamaya or Jokumaraswamy , or watched their...

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