Excerpts from Mahesh Dattani’s conversation with Sanjoy Roy at the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival 2014. The event saw the book launch of Dattani’s I, Me and My Plays and release of the Odiya Edition of his play Dance Like a Man.

I, Me and My Plays
Mahesh Dattani in conversation with Sanjoy Roy
Book launch of I, Me and My Plays and Odiya edition of Dance like a man

Venue: Char Bagh

The dramatic session started with Mahesh Datttani releasing his new book, I, Me and My Plays which includes forwards by theatre directors who have adopted his plays, an essay by Mahesh Dattani and two of his shorter plays. The session also witnessed the release of an Odiya translation of Mahesh Dattani’s famous play Dance like a man.

mahesh dattani 224x300 I, Me and My Plays  Jaipur Literature Festival

Mahesh Dattani in conversation with Sanjoy Roy at the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival 2014

Sanjoy Roy, the producer of Jaipur Literature Festival, stated that before Dattani, English plays about Indian society and culture were a rare thing and Dattani was among the first playwrights who brought English plays on the Indian stage. Dattani speaking about his life said that he was born into a Gujarati family living in Bangalore and wasn’t fluent in either Gujarati or Kannada, instead he started learning English at school which finally became the language of his expression.

A five minute clip of a visual adaptation of Dance like a man was screened during the event. The adaption was part of a new initiative called CINEPLAY which tries to capture the theatricality of different plays on screen without actually compromising on the cinematographic quality of the film produced. The short clip beautifully captured Lillete Dubey, an Indian actress and theatre director, performing the role of a Bharata Natyam dancer in the famous play by Dattani.

Roy then spoke about Mahesh Dattani’s controversial play, On a Muggy Night in Mumbai, which dealt with the themes of homosexuality. Dattani said that he had written that play because he was “fascinated by the gay subculture of Bombay.” Roy pointed out that the play was still very relevant due to the continuing suppression of homosexual voices in the Indian society. In response to Roy’s question of whether he was a political writer, Dattani responded that he was a very political man and that his politics has seeped into his writing but he still values his characters and plots more than the political standpoint he is taking through his plays.

The session ended with Mahesh Dattani dramatically reading from his new book, I, Me and My Plays.

 By Archit Nanda@ Jaipur Literature Festival

Also See:
Casualties of Love and Sex–Jaipur Literature Festival
The Bone Season–Jaipur Literature Festival
The Non-fiction Renaissance–Jaipur Literature Festival

Image Source: Jaipur Literature Festival@facebook

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