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AN EXPLORATION OF MAHESH DATTANI`S PLAY` WHERE THE

  • Listed: July 18, 2015 9:15 pm
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AN EXPLORATION OF MAHESH DATTANI`S PLAY` WHERE THERE IS A WILL BY DR. RAM SHARMA Ever since his first play in 1988, Where there.s a will , Witch was rooted in the Gujrati familial dynamic , Dattani has in a sense chronicled the follies and prejudices of Indian society as reflected with in the microcorm of the family unit , The most tangible and dynamic reality in middle class Indian lives , Dattani calls the play an xorcism of the patriarchal code? ( Dattani , 2000 : 4 49 ) and skillfully works his narrative around the intrigues and me of a dysfunctional Indian family ,, The play is set with in the conferies of four rooms two bedrooms , The living room and the derigueus dining room . In performance . Where there.s a will works with subtle contours that are handleld def——– , Not with standing the fact that this is Dattani;s first play . With family relationships as the focus of dramatic representation , Dattani;s handling of the performance space suggests to his audiences the vartations in signification allotted to ostensible simple . Through the connobuted design of the will , The relationships between the four main protagonist of a joint family are painfully twisted as the play begings to come alive in performance . this is a play where ?Traditional ?family values clash with un experted twists in the tale that completely subvert exiting sterotypes . The story revolves around a supposedly ?self made ?industrialist, Hasmukh Mehta, the patriarch who is the supreme malcontent with the typical problems of familial expectations, his lest less wife Sonal and a colourless conjugal life, his spend thrift son Ajit, and a u—— and conniving daughter in law Preeti, and last but hardly the lest, his mistress Kiran Jhaveri. All the four belie their names. Hasmukh is a dour ?faced man who seems unable to smile, Sonal hardly shines, Ajit is not in the lest successful in his father eyes, and Preeti is as unaffectionate as Hashmukh is sour. And yet they are family , yoked together with in choice in the matter, and must function as a unit under the patriarchal order. Hasmukh ?When I was twenty one, the greatest tragedy of my life took place, I got married – – The following year Ajit was born. Tragedy after tragedy – – – ?( 464 ) His son is a incompoo ?He has not a single quality I look for in a son: He has made an my entire life worthless – – – It won be long before everything I worked for and achieved will be destroyed ! ? Immediately out side the family units stands Kiran, Hasmukh mistress, invisible until yhe patriarch dies and his will places her at the centre of the action. The highly dissatisfied Hasmukh is decidedly unhappy with the manner his life has been spent with no one living up to his expectations, the way he had lived up to his father. He must therefore get back at his family and teach them a protracted lesson. It is only by way of the will that he would attempt to tackle all these obstacles that he has been unable to correct with in his life time. Dattani works this out with the help of his extremely self ?reflexive t—– ?where Hasmukh speaks more to the audience directly then with any of the other protagonists, taking them into confidence. The play piquantly sketches his domineering patriarch who would revenge himself upon his ?awaricious ?family by virtually cutting them out of his will, something they will discover only after his death. The colourless relationships between the two couples that comprise the family are developed in elaborate vignettes, portraying two singularly unexciting generations of couples sexually insipid and loveless, who remain in a typically materialistic and money ?oriented upper middle ?class mi?Ajit has b?. to stand up to his father, taking it for granted that the inheritance is already his, and fiercely resists Hasmukh attempts at ( moulding ) him in his own model. While Sonal is proud of her son, her husband thinks he is a disaster, and Preeti, his wife is even worse. But he admits that she is clever, the only person who is a little wary of in the play, with a measure of justification. Kiran Jhaveri ,the epitome of the Dattani woman makes her appearance in the very first play that he wrote Smart ,Shrewd, calculating and worldly wise. Kiran embodies qualities that Dattani staunchly holds a positive and strong and necessary for a woman. Like most women who play gendered roles. Kiran is a victim too, but one who refuses to stay victimized. She becomes part of Hasmukh life with her eyes wide open, and aware of the benefits that she will derive from the relationship. A ? Is a part of her existence too, as she reveals to Ajit got a husband, my husband got his booze, and your father go – – – well, you know .?(491) Hasmukh Mehta excercises hegemonic power over the rest of his family to perpetuate his own conception of the self, which, he has in turn, received from his father. He meets with resistance at all point from the other members of his family ou still want to play Bi

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