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Fair Play | The Indian Express

Written by Dipanita Nath

Updated: October 5, 2018 12:20:51 am

Sohaila Kapur

Her title is Katharina Minola, / Renown’d in Padua for her scolding tongue. This is how William Shakespeare introduces the heroine of The Taming of the Shrew, a play that has divided critics about his concepts on patriarchy and misogyny. When theatre director Sohaila Kapur tailored the play, titled Albeli Naari, for the Three Arts Club, a pre-Independence theatre group in Delhi, one of many first issues she informed the actor taking part in Katherine Minola was, “She is an independent-minded woman. Why is she so tantrumy? Why is she like a brat? Because, even now in India, when a woman doesn’t get her way, she is not allowed to express the rage and frustration she feels. Imagine, her bridegroom comes to the wedding dressed as a clown and her father says, ‘kam se kam, who aaya to hai’,” says Kapur. Anger mixes with ardour when Kapur speaks concerning the play, and previous recollections come tumbling out.

Excerpts from an interview:

Why The Taming of the Shrew?

It is so politically incorrect that it challenged me. We determined to think about what it means to have a person making an attempt to subjugate his spouse in as we speak’s day and age of lively feminism. What I discovered was that the play nonetheless resonates with present India. In the play, the daddy is in a rush to get his overaged daughter married. In 17th-century Britain, once you cross 30, you cross the age of marriage. The largest achievement of a lady was getting an excellent husband so households of women had been prepared to supply an excellent dowry to get an excellent man — a lot like as we speak’s India. The legal guidelines have been made by the court docket however, except there’s societal change, persons are not going to observe them and who’s going to report them? What is honour killing about? It is all concerning the subjugation of girls. I informed my actors that don’t be bowled over if, after the patriarchal speech of Petruchio (the male protagonist of the play), you get just a few claps within the corridor.

Why have you ever positioned the play in Delhi?

We positioned it in Delhi and Haryana. Delhi is a metropolis of immigrants and we get the colors and shades of individuals from totally different areas come to hunt employment. The languages within the play are Hindi, Urdu, Haryanvi, Bundelkhandi, a mix of Bhojpuri and Maithili and a smattering of Punjabi, precisely what you’ll hear on this area.

Scenes from Bebe ka Chamba

Have you ever confronted patriarchy, provided that your elite background supplied some insulation?

I needed to be an actor once I was younger. I had the appears, expertise and affords. I used to be informed very firmly by my household that the boys may do it — my brother, Shekhar Kapur, went into it in an enormous approach. The similar household (brother included) put their collective foot down once I received a suggestion, though the movie was large and starred Rajesh Khanna. Where was the equity? Of course, I really feel for my household as a result of they feared the casting sofa and had been defending me. Somebody would have tried to mattress me which was unthinkable for me, as a result of these days ‘good girls’ had been onerous wired to maintain their virginity for his or her husbands. It is an ogre, this casting sofa.

Girls are informed to uphold the honour of the household. Did that occur to you once you needed to hitch Bollywood?

My father was physician to the president of India and to nearly all of the embassy workers in Delhi. My uncle, MN Kapur, was one of many high educationists within the nation. On my mom’s facet, I’m associated to the Anands —Dev, Chetan and Vijay — who had been ruling Bollywood. Imagine my oppression. I needed to combat that in an effort to say sure. I didn’t have the braveness. It is so typical of an Indian lady to be informed, ‘Apni family ke izzat ka tumhe koi khayal nahi hai?’ And then, I discovered that my mom needed to be a journalist when she was younger however she as stopped as a result of ‘BA ke baad, shadi karni hai’.

So, you grew to become a journalist.

My mom inspired me. I needed to do crime reporting however I used to be finally informed to go to a life-style part. The argument given was we are able to’t take the accountability to your safety. That has formed my pondering. A girl pal needed to report on sports activities however was pushed into movies. How many instances I cried and gritted my enamel. The solely factor that saved me going was theatre. I continued performing, although I didn’t direct. I joined IPTA Bombay and labored with stalwarts akin to MS Sathyu and Shabana Azmi.

How have you ever packed all that within the play?


I really feel that messages get via higher with humour. I don’t need Katherine to be a determine of pity. I’m going to have individuals laughing with out releasing or possibly realising that these are their very own follies. This is how they deal with their daughters and sisters. At the top might be a small visible clue, via which I would like the viewers to suppose: ‘Has she really been tamed’?

The play might be staged as we speak at Shri Ram Centre, Delhi, at 6.30 pm

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About Christopher Ahn

Christopher L. Ahn writes for Lifestyle and Travel Sections in AmericaRichest.

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