The Mahabharata’s Shakuntala and Dushyant discover themselves in a modern-day setting, addressing the identical outdated battle, on this play by Isheeta Ganguly
For anybody who has had an Indian upbringing, the names Shakuntala and Dushyant are usually not alien, due to the The Mahabharata. In reality, their story set in Hastinapur has been so drilled into our minds that it’s an on a regular basis story. However, what makes these classical characters, who’ve been reinterpreted a number of occasions by means of films, tales and performs, so relatable? How is a romantic connection between two strangers (like of their story) being interpreted, in immediately’s occasions?
Sadly, for essentially the most half, such a state of affairs continues to be unable to dodge ethical judgements. In Mumbai-based playwright, singer and artiste Isheeta Ganguly’s Shakuntala Awaits, these characters re-emerge as a modern-day couple, caught in a conundrum, throughout continents. The play is presently on a 60-day Broadway run (digital) at HERE theatre, in New York.
“It’s a story that my grandmother’s sister used to inform me, after I was a bit lady of 5 – 6. She would inform me folktales nearly each single evening earlier than I went to sleep,” recollects Isheeta over telephone from Mumbai. She continues, “The story actually captured a toddler’s creativeness. It stayed with me for a few years. And, as I began rediscovering the characters by means of Romila Thapar’s analyses, I additionally met a number of acquaintances who had been getting ready to be moms on their very own.”
That’s when she realised, even in 2021, the taboo of turning into a mom out of wedlock, is pervasive globally. This led her to set the play within the US (Boston) and Mumbai.
“What’s astonishing is that, we speak about a girl’s reproductive rights when it comes to negating being pregnant…however the query of what a girl can do when she desires to have a toddler on her personal, shouldn’t be mentioned [as much],” Isheeta continues. To change into a mom out of a relationship, then, instantly turns into unacceptable.
Shakuntala Awaits tackles the totally different facets of this city actuality by means of a plot loosely based mostly on the story of The Mahabharata’s Shakuntala. “I wished to convey Shakuntala into 2020,” says Isheeta including the play was conceptualised earlier than the pandemic. However within the revisions accomplished throughout the lockdowns, the pandemic did discover a manner into the narrative.
The story follows a professor (Samrat Chakrabarty) from Harvard reaching Mumbai for a convention, the place he meets a physician (Purva Bedi) at a e book retailer. There sparks a dialog and an evident chemistry between the 2 which leads to a romantic night. The narrative takes on a unique course when the protagonist realises that she is pregnant.
“Shakuntala realises that she doesn’t must make her grandmother’s fairytale the one fairytale that should come by means of. She will make her personal fairytale,” says Isheeta. “Finally the journey was about realising that she has to reconstruct it based on her values and actuality.” Shakuntala refuses to stay prisoner to the best notion.
The play doesn’t finish on a ‘fortunately ever after’ notice in a standard sense, however opens up myriad prospects to an empowering, up to date actuality.
The play is out there until April 3 at: https://right here.org/reveals/shakuntala-awaits/