Well, hello there!!! I know it has been long, but they(okay fine, I !) say to be a good writer you need to keep experiencing new, exciting things to write about, and therefore I have been off my writing pad for past few weeks. But I am back, with a lot of stories and experiences to share, that can easily be content of this blog (that I insist you must join/follow/like on FB) for some weeks to come! 😀
So first up today is an experience of a lifetime that I will love all of you to have – watching Arundhati Nag live in action in Girish Karnad’s production : Bikhre Bimb (Broken Images). It is originally a Kannada play and has been translated to Hindi and English too. I caught this on a Friday, at one of my most favorite places in Bangalore – Rangashankra, a lovely theater right in the heart of JP Nagar. Me and my friend have been longing to watch a nice production, and when we got to know about this, we just had to go!!!!!
The premise of Bikhre Bimb is quite interesting – Manjula Nayak, an unsuccessful Kannada writer, suddenly becomes literary world’s favorite child after publishing a bestseller in English. At first it seemed like a play about the conflicts of an Indian writer – born to speak Hindi/Punjabi/Kannada et all and still dares to write in English! How can someone who has learnt to think in a language, write in a foreign tongue? Manjula Nayak has been beautifully portrayed by one of the finest actors alive – Ms. Arundhati Nag. She plays a character who comes across as confident, and to some extent, even arrogant. She mocks at those who question her “loyalty” to her mother tongue, and laughs off all suggestions that she might be ever so slightly be guilty of abandoning her own language.
As the play proceeds, in a TV studio, there occurs another layer to the story – Manjula’s relationship with her sister Malini Nayak. Malini is beautiful, young, intelligent, and physically handicapped. She is everything Manjula isn’t. Manjula talks about the struggles of her sister, and describes tearfully how she tried to depict her pain in her novel. But her doppelganger traps her into revealing more, and then all skeletons from the closet come tumbling out. How Manjula had always been jealous of Malini, growing up in the shadow of a sibling far better than her. How Manjula’s own husband felt more at ease talking to Malini, than his own wife, which drew a wedge in their marital life. Childless and resentful, Manjula disliked Malini for being better than her, and secretly wished to be her.
I will leave the climax of the plot out of this post, since I really, really want you to watch this. But I will tell you one thing – Arundhati Nag is just fabulous. It is a gift to see such a veteran actress onstage, portraying such complex emotions with apparent ease, compelling you to stick to every word of interaction between her and her sub-conscious, making you gasp at her story, and yet feeling sorry for her. You feel pity for Manjula Nayak, a jealous sister who tries hard to one-up her own sister, and just when she thought she won, she lost it all.
The strength of her Arundhati’s acting is such, that you can’t leave Manjula in the darkness of theater. She comes with you outside, and stays in your thoughts, forcing you to think if good is indeed always good or if bad is really that easy to define. She haunts you long enough, to ponder on realities of life, and to wonder if we are too quick to pass a judgement on someone, based on their physical appearances, without knowing their truth.
Apart from her expressions, what I loved the most about Arundhati Nag’s acting is her voice – you can hear her till the back of the theater, and her diction is clear and powerful. The Hindi used in the play is pure, and yet easy to understand. Of course, a play is no good without a great direction, and Girish Karnad and KM Chaitanya deserve all credit for such marvelous interpretation of human emotions and relationships.
Do watch this if you can, I have heard the Kannada and English versions are pretty good as well, although the English version has a different actress. But don’t miss this experience at all!!!
Featured Image Source : BookMyShow