Tuesday, December 20, 2011

BEING EUNUCH (A PLAY) - HINDI

Before I begin reviewing what I witnessed today, let me write a brief extract from the brochure I got about this play.

Eunuchs (HIJRAS) are castrated males or transsexuals or hermaphrodites who have been rejected by their families. The existence of Hijra's can be dated back to the 9th Century BC. The word derived from the greek meaning "keeper of the bed". Hijras often live in close communities, setting up their own "family" networks of motherhood, daughterhood and sisterhood. All identify themselves as females. India is the only country where the tradition is prevalent today.


Nishumbita presents a play that tries to highlight the plight and agony of being a eunuch and tries to answer few of these questions.

Coming to the play, it's driven purely by acting. Shanno Nayak (played by Keshav Deepak) simply rules the roost and is one of the best reasons to go and see the play. Terrific acting and terrific carry of emotion and great variations, you have to control and then immediately blast out on stage, that is in front of a live audience which is a real tough thing.

It's a concept that most would shy away from watching, because sadly we are still under preconceived notion of being accosted even when Hijras come on stage. It's a sad notion but what makes this a very emphatic play is it's script written by Late Krishna Madhav and superbly acted by all the actors.

Beginning with the Hijra's history then their daily life, it's a story of how Bansi becomes Mona, a guy becoming a eunuch. The reasons of why he becomes one are not shown or spoken about. He just tells that he wants to become one. The life of a eunuch, what happens when they get on road and how people try to get rid them as quickly as possible.

Bansi, a guy comes to Shanno Naik's territory and her own Lanka where Shanno is the Raavan and confesses that he wants to become a eunuch, she has a background and a promise to help her friend Laccho, accpets his appeal after deliberations by her own girls and then makes Bansi as Rani.
Meanwhile, the life of Shanno's girls is shown in glimpses as to how they are treated when they go to beg, what they generally talk about when together. Now, rani gets a match and before the wedding she has to go thru Nirvaan (cut the male thing out) and then become a complete eunuch. She is named Mona, a complete eunuch. After her marriage, she is betrayed by the man, but nevertheless, persuades Shanno's eunuchs to seek other things in life and stop begging and that changes their life. (this is just a briefing of the play)

Acting by Ravi Raj as Govindraju, who claims to marry Rani (the hijra turned Bansi) was something that was out of place  and in fact the only point where it was not apt in terms of acting.

And the monologue by Preeti (Krishna Chaitanya) was a terrific one that demanded applause.

A note about the sound design, it was very well done, from a song at beginning to the climax, it was all very well constructed. And yes, it was Warriors of Heaven and Earth for the climax and an interlude, but it was all well made up and was sync with the scene. So thanks for making me delve into my past.

A word of appreciation for the director for getting all these together.

Few questions, that I would like to know answers are

1) Preeti vows to Yellamma (the God of Hijras) that she will destroy the whole clan that Shanno Nayak has brought. But though the clan almost collapses, never was Preeti shown as a reason behind it. If it was not to be done that way, the why let Preeti take a very strong vow?

2) As I have said, there was no reason shown as to why Bansi wants to become a woman and rather a Eunuch but Mona (as Bansi has become Mona) comes all guns blazing at the society and blaming society for the sole reason for her becoming a eunuch. Mona calling the society as a "Fucking Society" was completely uncalled for. Was she telling that society was the reason for eunuchs becoming beggars (of a different kind) as society has disowned them, or is that society was being blamed for becoming the reason for a man becoming eunuch, some clarification please. There was no justification shown for "how has society turned an evil into making eunuchs out of men". In fact, I must state, that when Bansi was asked if she was turning a Hijra by her own free will (at the time of Nirvaan) she says an emphatic yes which means that she has become one by her own choice and not by any other reason. So why was the society blamed?

Despite the shortcomings, it's a play that has completely enthralled me and I would recommend a watch simply for Shanno Nayak's portrayal.

Now, coming to the writer, Krishna Madhav Holagundi (I heard of this name only today), of whom I got to know that he passed away on April 18th 2011. Though I had no idea of him earlier, he seemed so very close to me. My eyes just became moist and there were tear drops once I heard that he was no more. This is unreal, a feeling for a man, whom you knew just today and that too posthumously. He made a play that did not move me but surely made me happy. After watching, I just came out with a feeling of having watched a movie that I would remember for long.

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I firstly declare here that all the content written in the blog is exclusively written by me and I hold the copyrights of each and everything. Be it a poem or a movie review. Also, the videos or photographs I upload or attach are exclusively owned by me. This declaration is important in a world that seems so worried of piracy. The prime purpose of these blogs is to put my writings and photographs on the net. and well to start with.... I live in my mind, and existence is the attempt to bring my thoughts into physical reality, I celebrate myself, sing myself and I am always happy in my own company.....I am not the best in the world but I strive for excellence and thats what keeps me alive... Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself--Friedrich Nietzsche