Girish Karnad’s “Broken Images”
What was born as a gift and a tribute to the cause of theatre is now an internationally acclaimed production. Girish Karnad’s Broken Images was written for Arundhati Nag, while she was working towards completing her Ranga Shankara dream. In 2005, the play made a debut at Ranga Shankara. In its original form, it was staged as a double act. Two of Indian theatre’s prominent figures — Arundhati Raja and Arundhati Nag — performed the piece in English and Kannada respectively. Over six months the production earned rave reviews.
The India Foundation for the Arts (IFA), Bangalore, is bringing Karnad’s play back in order to raise funds for grants in the field of arts. Karnad reveals how Alyque Padamsee watched Arundhati Nag play Broken Images (Bikhre Bimb) in Hindi and decided to direct Shabana Azmi in an English version. The production recently played to packed houses in Singapore.
Shabana Azmi plays Manjula Sharma in this psychological thriller that unravels the introspection, the ensuing doubts and unexpected confessions of a celebrity author. A woman who is not a very successful Hindi short story writer suddenly becomes wealthy and globally renowned after she churns out a best-seller in English. The question haunting Manjula is whether, in seeking a global audience, she has betrayed her own language and identity. Her own “image” then plays confessor, psychologist and inquisitor.
On the play’s relevance to modern times, Karnad says, “Its relevance is self-evident to anyone who knows what is happening in India’s literary landscape where vernacular writers feel they do not get the attention that writers in English get, that there is a definite ‘class system’ operating here”. Karnad was inspired to write the play while listening to Shashi Deshpande talk about how Indian writers in English who are published in India get a step-motherly treatment compared to those published on foreign shores.
Bottomline: Broken images of the self lead to self-discovery
When: July 19, 7.30 pm
Where: Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Bangalore
Tickets: Rs 3000, Rs.2000, Rs.1000, Rs.750, Rs.500, Rs.300