22 June, 2021

Mahesh Dattani

On his play, Seven Steps Around the Fire, premiered in Delhi this week, which explores issues faced by men, women and eunuchs, the third gender.

Mahesh Dattani
Why did you premier 7 Steps...in Delhi, away from Bangalore, your hometown?
I was here for a workshop when we decided to adapt this radio play for stage. Can you believe we pulled this off in just six weeks?

How did you adapt a radio script for stage?
On radio, like cinema, you rapidly cut from scene to scene. In theatre, the physicality of a staging slows you down, so I fleshed out scenes a lot.

What was audience response like?
We were sold out a week in advance, but I was anxious. The third gender is a tricky issue, but people were quite engaged.

Were you ready for a 'peeping audience'?
I was. But as a writer-director, I carefully avoid rewarding voyeurs.

Do you consider yourself a lone gender issue speaker?
I wish more people would explore aspects of sexuality rather than just sex; to that extent, I'm alone.

Are you happy that Girish Karnad is back in Bangalore and writing plays again?
Absolutely! We're neighbours. He's a brilliant, well-informed person whom I love...

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