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Decoding Ismat

By August 16, 2018No Comments

Source : The New Indian Express

Three protagonists perform in an autobiographical work and two short stories in a sequence to be presented today.

HYDERABAD: Theatre lovers have an exciting show to look forward to. Coming up this evening is a presentation by Sutradhar titled Ismat–Ek Aurat. The performance has been presented in various cities across India like Ahmedabad, Udaipur, and Dharwad, besides Hyderabad. It has been staged successfully 15 times already. The performance is based on the writings of Ismat Chughtai (1915–1991), a well-known feminist writer. With a large body of works, Chughtai established herself as a significant author in the realm of 20th-century Urdu literature. She received various awards and honours among which was the Padmashree given by the Union Government.
Chughtai’s writings explored feminist issues, the state of women in different strata of society, male dominance, middle-class concerns, and class conflicts among other things. Her works are praised for their realism and courageous viewpoints. It is said of her that she was a feminist long before the cause became fashionable.   Ismat – Ek Aurat is a collage of Ismat Chughtai’s three short works directed by Vinay Varma who is also the founder of Sutradhar.
The first is an autobiographical work called Guftagu (meaning conversation or Tete-a-Tete).  The second is Saas (mother-in-law), and the third is Chidi ki Dukki. These last two are short stories. In the performance, all three are being presented as monologues performed by three different actors in a sequence.

Guftagu is about Chughtai’s upbringing, her family atmosphere, and the influences on her writing and how she broke the stereotypes regarding women. It also explores the problems of abandonment of people in their old age. This has become a burning issue today and Chughtai examined this issue decades ago. Saas explores the relationship between a mother in law and her daughter in law and how the son skillfully manages the relationships with them. There are moves and counter moves as in a game of chess. Chidi ki Dukki is all about what matters most when you want to win over a person. Is it attitude, intelligence or appearance?

The duration of the performance is 90 minutes, without any break. The prelude will have Vinay Varma talking about Sa’adat Hasan Manto’s thoughts on Chughtai and whether she was a woman in the conventional sense.

The director of the play is Vinay Varma and the cast has Deepti Girotra, Pallavi Varma Minnaganti, and Ratika Sant Keswani.
Sutradhar presents Ismat – Ek Aurat on 15 August 2018, at 7.30 p.m., in Nritya – Forum for Performing Arts, Hyderabad.

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