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"Bangalore is New to the Kannada Experience"

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Girish Karnad on his new play: “Bangalore is new to the Kannada experience, therefore, even-though you will find a rich Kannada tradition in writing, theatre, cinema and poetry until very recently you will find very little writing on Bangalore. Stories on the life in Bangalore — the stories of Jayanagar, RT Nagar and Indranagar are but stories not found on paper. Hence, I decided to base parts of the play in Bangalore to explore the conundrum”.

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Another Monsoon Wedding Akshay Mahajan, newindianexpress Monday July 14 2008 14:53 IST

A marriage is easy to start. Fate, in the form of friends, relatives or lust, arranges a match. But after the wedding, how do you stay engaged? Plays are easy to start, too, and they pose a similar challenge. No marriage is as arbitrary and accidental as one between the actors and the audience, set up by a brief infatuation in a theatre or the enthusiasm of a third party. Perhaps because of this congruence, ill-advised marriages have been one of fiction’s most fertile subjects, ever since the start of theatre itself. Girish Karnad and Lillete Dubey’s new play set itself on the fertile plains of one such joyful occasion. The play written originally in Kannada by Karnad but set into action in English by Lillete’s Bombay troupe, chronicles with witty retorts and relevant observations, the fast changing face of the urban middle class in Karnataka. The story revolves around an urban, educated Indian family planning the marriage of their second daughter. The patriarch is old and depends solely on his memories to believe that things will work out well. The adoring mom, the elder siblings and even the cook are all protective of the youngest member of the family whom they adore. Each has their own share of frustrations in their lives and yet coming together for the marriage of their daughter/sister is perhaps a break from their mundane lives. It is an album of picture perfect scenes sewn together meticulously. The play based partly in Dharwad, a gentle and sleepy town and then in Bangalore revolves around the dreams of a young women, wide-eyed and trusting willing to marry a suitable boy from the US she has never met. Each isolated observation shows its members frozen in an disposition of respectability, yet each figure has a double image. The hidden image here is about Bangalore itself.

Bangalore is new to the Kannada experience

Bangalore in many ways is stuck somewhere in the flux, the adolescence between a growth of a town into a City that in every way is dumbfounded by its newly found status as India’s third metro. This surprise is more of an object to the Banglorean who stills looks at the City as that perennial ‘pensioners paradise’ settled in leafy enclaves blessed with good weather then the outsider’s view of ‘Bengaluru’ as India’s Silicon Valley — filled with the ways of American convenience served in glass fronted buildings. The end product is a diptych that leaves many a confused Bangalore resident crying hoarse to the sound of a never abating flow of traffic.The need to showcase this modern reality made Karnad, who is known for his lush historical dramas on stage to write something more contemporary. “Bangalore is new to the Kannada experience, therefore, even-though you will find a rich Kannada tradition in writing, theatre, cinema and poetry until very recently you will find very little writing on Bangalore. Stories on the life in Bangalore — the stories of Jayanagar, RT Nagar and Indranagar are but stories not found on paper. Hence, I decided to base parts of the play in Bangalore to explore the conundrum,” Karnad said. On asking him why Bangalore is new to the Kannada experience, he said, “The answer is very simple, till 1956 Karnataka had only one City, and that was sleepy old Mysore. Bangalore was not even on the literary map. There were Kannada cultural centers like Dharwad, but not Bangalore.” The Wedding album is a marriage of themes, a wedding of course that often brings out the best and worst of human nature and the elements of a society in transition. Small town values, big city tensions, foreign returned son-in-law, faithful family help all interwoven into a mix and melange of a gripping story with unexpected twists and turns.

akshaym@gmail.com

Comments

tsubba's picture

bangalore in popular culture

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66 users have liked.
always wanted to track this. bangalore in popular culture. there are any number of stories and movies set in bangalore but very few have bangalore as an integral part of the story. cyanide was one such movie. the recent aa dinagaLu another such movie.
Sajith's picture

Movies on Bangalore

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62 users have liked.
OM had Bangalore Underworld as backdrop,there are quite a few malayalam movies with Bangalore as backdrop.
tsubba's picture

malayalee movies

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69 users have liked.
oh cool. movies based in bengalooru? would love to see them. any references?
tsubba's picture

movies

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83 users have liked.
my vote is for a KFDC - Karnataka Film Development Corporation an entity to promote movies about the geography and people of karnataka. seed with 10.5 crores. 10 crores for movies and .5 towards maintenance with the ultimate mandate that they open a film school and a film studio in 10 years. in 10 years, they should have a corpus of atleast 6 movies that made it big in national or international circuits and atleast 1 movie that introduces new idiom of story telling - a la iranian movies.

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