I was watching a discussion between two guys on TV a few years ago.The first guy said, in the past 1000 years of literature in the Indian subcontinent, there has never been any real Indian drama. Either the plays were written in Sanskrit which was excluding the cognizance of the working masses, as the stories evolved around the kings and Gods or at the other end, the dramas that might have popped up in the folk lore were in vernaculars, and very specifically insulated from the life of the people with other tongues. And only after the independence the united Indian subcontinent has life that is lived in tandem, and the dramas coming out of such a life, are the only ones that can be called Indian Dramas.And among the lot, the pick are Badal Sircar and you.
The second guy[famous for his half-truth… yeah screen-play titled so] said you too.Actually its all the three.
Yeah, as you might have expected both agreed with their great analysis.
A decade later, saying “Rushdie is not a phenomenon, but she is: with one novel, got an international award, became rich, famous and gets media attention.”
the first guy wrote a play called “Heap of broken Images”, claiming only those who write in their mother tongue can do justice to literature. Well, he seems not to have got the money or fame she got with this effort too.
This she, is interestingly described by Tarun Tejpal as
“with aerobically toned sexy body has the biggest balls for an Indian writer, who is generous both with her time and money”.
But the point is , there was a folk art form all the time, which would cater to the poor working classes, in vernaculars as oral tradtion. Usually the players and the writers would be one/many of them, with some extra verbal skills, and used as time pass during the monsoon times, when no work on fields was due.
There were second type of itinerant performers who would come perform amongst these simpletons, and be paid in cash or kind[mostly], for the entertainment they provided. These were a bit more devoted and would be either more political social or mystic in their literary creations. I know some of the marvelous folklore from my own village and surroundings coming down for centuries. These literary works usually were performed by a single person, as “pada”s viz ge ge pada, kamsaLe pada etc or else with a group of 3 to 5 people, usually of the same family. They were again supported by the village working class, not the rich Zamindars, nor patronized by temples. Since they were dedicated to the art form for their livelihood, as a rule, their creations have more artistic attributes, than the once-in-a-while singing and dancing done by the working folks them selves.
The other major part of their performance was the mystic element which would bring God and his favors with in the reach of the religiously kept-out people. This inspired the workers to patronize them for more than entertainment-value of the performances.
On the other side there were Bhasa,KALidasa in Sanskrit and in vernacular pampa ranna and so on directly having the royal patronage.
The two started loosing distinction slowly in the middle ages during elaborate productions arranged for the working classes by the land lords. Yakshagaana etc and finally leading to touring talkies natakagaLu and nataka companies, like gubbi company etc .
During the same time the politico-economic status of the country was also undergoing severe changes, as to shift the balance of profitable remuneration, from the rich few patrons to the large number of working class. Here what worked was the number. Each paying an anna would be a huge amount compared to the patronage of the numbered rich.
So, finally this impact also got into the story lines of the content. The stories of kings were also there, but the stories of people like those in the audience started getting prominence. Thus we have landed up with the master pieces of Dhuttargi like Sampatthige SawAl etc.
The key factor, here is , in both form and content , the dramas all the while, were tailored to the paying audience. That’s it.
There is no more esoteric factor to it.
If Indiana Jones has an Indian element in the story line, the Indian market is also millions strong.
The writer, can write about the life he has lived and things he/she has strong relation with, thematically. But he always tries to tailor it to be affective to the paying masters. Hence the source coding and channel coding.
The form and content are decided by only these two, and manifested as per the artistic capabilities [prathiBhe] of the artist.
Recently, after inspiring (?) collection of or due to “the heap of broken images”, he has come up with his first Originally-English Play .
did you say
PLAYING BY THE RULES OF THE GAME?
Udara nimittham bahukrutha vesham !!!