The IUP Journal of English Studies
Vijay Tendulkar’s A Friend’s Story and Mahesh Dattani’s Seven Steps Around the Fire and On a Muggy Night in Mumbai: Reperforming Gender

Article Details
Pub. Date : Sep, 2019
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES11909
Author Name : Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
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No. of Pages : 14

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Abstract

The precolonial and colonial discourses on/of gender have come to be reviewed in the aftermath of India’s Independence in 1947. The spirit of rethinking the “given,” originated mostly under the alien/ colonial influences, creates a postcolonial situation that espouses a nationalistic consolidation on the one hand and looks into the alternative discourses marginalized by such consolidation on the other. As a result, different lost or marginal voices have come to the fore. Indian theatre, after the independence, lends a voice to these unacknowledged zones of silence. Plays have begun to question sexuality and gender, redefining not only the issues themselves but also the thematic purview of Indian theatre and the audience reception. In this context, the present paper seeks to read three plays: Vijay Tendulkar’s A Friend’s Story and Mahesh Dattani’s Seven Steps Around the Fire and On a Muggy Night in Mumbai. The paper examines how the plays challenge the conventional sex-roles through transgender identities and same-sex relations in a heterosexist society and how they trace the evolution of post-independence Indian theatre to be able to deal openly with taboo topics such as alternative sexuality.


Introduction

Gender has become one of the most significant sites of critique in the Indian society in the aftermath of Independence. The precolonial and colonial discourses of gender have come to be effectively negotiated in the newly arrived situation of post-1947. The postcolonial nationalism vigorously pursues a decolonized nation-state, reconfiguring many of the legacies of the colonial past. Its goal to design a new nation-state on the nationalistic-revivalist line, based on the pristine and mythic past of the country, is obvious.


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