Review by Shiva
A lesbian-themed play from the house of the Qadir Ali Baig Foundation? I was intrigued. I went with an open mind and allowed the theatre group a blank canvas in my mind. The result? A tellingly dark yet beautiful portrayal.
The play premiered on th 9th of April in Hyderabad. Written and directed by Mohan Maharishi and produced by Mohammed Ali Baig, it is a triangular story revolving around a young, chirpy and fearless girl Simran (played by Shatarupa Bhatacharya). She falls in love with a high heeled bussiness woman called Vaijayanthi (played by Madhu Swaminath). Another weighted character is that of Eshwar Dutt (played by Baig himself). He is interested in Simran, understands her feelings towards Vaijayanthi and stands by her unquestioningly. Both the women enjoy each others company, go out for dinners and even on a holiday to South Africa. Vaijayanthi however disapproves of the relationship Simran shared with Eshwar. This disturbs Simran who in turn severs all contacts with Vaijayanthi and Eshwar, who try in vain to trace her back.
The beauty of the play was not just in story telling but the way the emotions were brought out. It’s commendable how elegantly such a sensitive issue was handled, but it would have been easier for the audience if had they incorporated some lighthearted scences inbetween. I couldn’t understand if dimming the lights between different scenes was a technical flaw or an experiment by Mr Thespian Sathyu. The sound too had a few glitches. At the end each character delves into themselves and speaks their subconscious minds. This potrayal of the subconscious was an ingenious idea. I consider this play to be a new wave in the modern Indian art front where homosexuality is shown in good light.
Congratulations to the team!
Here is a chit chat with the lead pair Simran and Vaijayanthi.
Shiva: Is it the first queer themed play by the foundation and what prompted them to do so?
Shatarupa: Yes it is the first queer themed play by the foundation. YKBD is not only about homosexuality, but about self revelation, placing oneself in the situation of ones own personal reaction towards love.
Madhu: It is the first lesbian themed play in india. This is a pathbreaking play. The idea was to raise the levels of sensitivity in the society.
Shiva: How did you prepare for the role?
Shatarupa: I think Simran is very close to my heart as I myself am very similar in my real life, full of upredictability and abruptness. I did not do anything special to prepare for this role. All credit goes to my director and Madhu Swaminathan, who supported me throughout.
Madhu: it involved a lot of reading and understanding.
Shiva: Any hiccups that your team faced because it was a queer themed play?
Shatarupa: No there were no problems at all.
Madhu: Absolutely not.
Shiva: How were the reviews, and how did the Hyderabadi audience react?
Shatarupa: Hyderabad’s audience has been extremely kind, and the response has been positive. I am not sure of what the critiques felt as I have not really found any good piece of theatre review till now.
Madhu: The audience reacted quite mature, they were cool as usual.
Shiva: If YKBD attains a cult status and you become the icons of the gay community, then how would you feel?
Shatarupa: Well, I shall be highly obliged if I am to be so, but I need to go a long way to achieve that. I am just on the verge of doing something and if given a chance I would like to do something different.
Madhu: I never thought of that, it would feel nice!