24 October, 2020

The Myths Within Myths

Old tales as modern drama

The Myths Within Myths
ONCE there were four. Mohan Rakesh, who wrote in Hindi, died untimely. Badal Sircar continues to do theatre in Bengal, but has not written a new play in years. Vijay Tendulkar, the Marathi playwright, is today more closely associated with TV and cinema. That leaves just one, and the only one of the quartet that formed the vanguard of contemporary Indian theatre in the sixties, who continues to write plays—Girish Karnad. These four tried to catch the nerve of post-Independence Indian middle-class psyche in their early plays like Adhe Adhure, Evam Indrajit, Khamosh Adalat Jari Hai, and Tughlaq. Avidly translated into other Indian languages, these plays formed the bedrock of a new Indian theatre movement.

Launching his play, The Fire and the Rain, last month, Karnad referred to the 'silence' in the writing of drama in India for 1,000 years. Sanskrit drama died in the 9th century, he said, and there were no worthwhile written theatre texts until this century, as the Indian mind could not see drama as a written form. Drama was always improvised in performance. How...



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