05 August, 2021

Mahesh Dattani

The Sahitya Akademi-winning playright on completing 500 shows of Dance Like A Man

Mahesh Dattani

Did you expect this play to be the first Ind­ian English play to achieve the feat?

When I wrote it 25 years ago, while I was studying dance, I thought it would do a few shows. Neither me nor Lilette Dubey, the director, expected the play to do so well.

What has appealed to people for so long?

The universal appeal is the man-woman conflict and that within the family. It struck a chord everywhere (it has travelled several countries).

What about the artist's dilemmas, which are integral to the play?

The play was inspired by my gurus, who lived through the ‘50s and ‘60s when Bharata­natyam was still stigmatised. For a man to be a dancer, it was double stigma.

Almost all characters are grey and seem to make mistakes. But you don't judge them.

I decided not to take sides. Why an artiste is successful or a failure are not easy answers. I didn't want to show men as evil and women as victims.

Is it based on true...

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