Playwright Mahesh Dattani talks about the need for fresh sripts
As a part of the first-anniversary celebration of Theatre Weekend (a two-day event organised by city-based Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Foundation), celebrated playwright Mahesh Dattani will stage his play, Snapshots of a Fervid Sunrise, which deals with untold stories of patriotism. In his career spanning 30 years, Bengaluru-born Mahesh is known for writing about social concerns that have caused many others to shy away – be it child abuse, conflicts about religion or homosexuality. “It is important to talk about topics like these. But one cannot force an artiste to deal with any particular issue. We are directed by our aesthetics and everyone should have a choice,” says the 59-year-old actor-director.
The play, Snapshots of a Fervid Sunrise, explores the journey of two young freedom fighters, Khudiram Bose and Thillayaadi Velliamai, who have never met, but were both driven by a common passion – a love for their motherland. While Khudiram was a Bengal revolutionary, Velliamai was a South African Tamilian who worked with Mahatma Gandhi in her early years to fight racial segregation. “As youngsters, their vision and work is inspiring. The irony is that Velliamai fought for equality irrespective of colour, and today, fairness brands are the most selling cosmetics. Considering this situation, it’s of most relevance now,” he says fiercely.
With the increasing number of adaptations being played out on the city’s stages, Mahesh feels that the need for fresh scripts is more than ever before. Although he is popular as a director and writer, his initial plan was to be an actor, after his introduction to the art form at the age of 12. Growing up, he realised that writing was his forte. But continued to believe that performance is the centre of theatre. “Theatre lives in the performance. You can’t have a good play without a performer. However, with the growing need for fresh stories, I think the writers are taking centre stage. The younger lot seems quite interested in theatre. We also need more theatre foundations like Qadir Ali Baig that will open up opportunities,” he shares.
Ticket: Rs.300. On March 10, 7 pm onwards.
At Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Banjara Hills.
Pic: Nikhil Bagore