Indian Writing In English: Jayanta Mahapatra, Mahesh Dattani

Indian Writing In English: Jayanta Mahapatra, Mahesh Dattani

Jayanta Mahapatra (1928 – )

  • Jahanta Maahapatra is one of the best-known Indian English poets.
  • He was born in Cuttack in 1928 and was educated at Stewart School and Ravenshaw College, Cuttack, and Science College, Patna. 
  • He lives in Cuttack, where he is a Reader in Physics at  Ravenshaw College.
  • His work includes Close the Sky Ten By Ten (1971), Countermeasures (1973), poems translated from the Oriya of Soubhagya Mirsa, and A Rain of Rites (1976).
  • He has contributed to Critical Quarterly (Manchester), Poetry Jacob Glatstein Memorial Prize of Poetry (Chicago) in 1975.
  • During 1976-97, he was a member of the University of Ioa’s international writing program. He edits Chandrabhaga.
  • Maahapatra explores the intricacies of human relationships, especially those of lovers, with a robust tenderness. 
  • About the poems themselves, there is an unexpected quietude. 
  • He says, ‘What appears to disturb me is the triumph of silence in the mind: and if these poems are inventions, they are also longings amid the flow of voices toward a need that I feel is defensive. A poem makes me see out of it in all directions, like a sieve, and I am almost relieved from the uncertainties one has come to expect of life, probed rigorously, for instance, in ‘Lost’ and ‘The Logic’. There is an intense, dramatic quality about ‘A Missing Person’. The economy of phrasing and starting images recall the subhasitas (literally that which is well said) of classical Sanskrit. 

Important Works Of Jahanta Mahapatra

Poetry By Jahanta Mahapatra

  1. Close The Sky Ten By Ten – 1971
  2. Svayamvara And Other Poems – 1971
  3. A Father’s House – 1976
  4. A Rain Of Rites – 1976
  5. Waiting – 1979
  6. The False Start – 1980
  7. Relationship – 1980

Prose By Jahanta Mahapatra

  1. The Green Gardener: Short Stories (1997)
  2. Door Of Paper: Essay And Memoirs (2006

Mahesh Dattani (1958 – )

  • Mango Souffle, India’s first major gay-themed film, is an adaptation of Mahesh Dattani’s play ‘On A Muggy Night In Mumbai’
  • Mahesh Dattani’s ‘Final Solutions’ is a play that centers on a middle-class Hindu family during a communal riot. It challenges communalism. It promotes religious pluralism in South Asia. 
  • Final Solutions was banned from the Deccan Herald Theatre Festival for dealing with a sensitive issue. The play, however, was produced by Playpen in Bangalore on July 1993. Alyque Padmasee invited Mahesh Dattani to write it. 
  • Mahesh Dattani is an Indian director, actor, playwright and writer born in Bangalore. He is the first English playwright who was awarded with Sahitya Akademi Award. 
  • His famous plays are: 
  • Final Solutions (1993) (he got the Sahitya Akademi award for this play)
  •  Bravely Fought The Queen (1991)
  • On A Muggy Night In Mumbai 
  • Tara (1990)
  • Thirty Days In September (2001)
  • The Murder That Never Was (2000)
  • Where There’s Will 2013 (it deals with money as the central theme of the play)
  • Seven Circles Round (1998)
  • Brief Candle (2009)
  • Where Did I Leave My Purdah (2012)
  • The Big Fat City (2012)

Dattani directed the following films:

Mango Souffle, Morning Raga, Dance Like A Man, Ek Alag Mausam

Final Solutions (1993)

  • In this play, the issue of communal harmony is raised.
  • The play is based on Hindu-Muslim problems. 
  • This play is in 3 acts, it was first performed in 1993.
  • It’s a story of a young baffled boy Javed, who becomes a victim and a terrorist and is exploited by politicians in the name of Jiahad. He is trained for the terrorist activities and sabotaging. He is sent to a Hindu Mohalla where a Rath Yatra is taking place. Javet is over-whelmed with the fervour of Jehad that he throws the first stone on the Rath causing chaos, ending up in the killing of the Pujari and crashing down of the Rath.
  • Bobby, a close friend of Javed, saves him from the violent mob and gets him shelter in Ramnik Gandhi’s house, where causes of Hindus and Muslims hatred are being discussed and strange secrets of terror, greed, avarice and communal hatred are being revealed. 
  • In Final Solutions, Dattani has handled the theme of Hindu-Muslim riots and its influence on the society. 
  • He has also offered solutions to such problems in it. Following virtues is the true religion. That is the final solution to the problem of narrow fanaticism. 

Where There’s A Will 2003

  • The play is about Hasmukh Mehta, one of the business tycoons in the city.
  • His disbelief in his family members and his unhappy sex life makes him to find the right person outside the family.
  • He entrusts all his property to Hasmukh Mehta charitable trust and makes Kiran Jhaveri (a marketing executive in his company) the trustee of the trust. 
  • Hasmukh’s family is taken aback to see the will of Hashmukh. 

Dance Like A Man (2006)

  • Patriarchy has been brought out effectively in this novel.
  • Jairaj and Ratna are the main characters and they come under the pressure of patriarchy.
  • Jairaj wanted to pursue his career as a Bharatnatyam dancer but his father Amritpal Parekh’s autocracy doesn’t allow him to be dancer. 

Tara (1990)

  • The main characters are Tara and Chandran.
  • The story of the play is about the twins Tara and Chandaan, they are born as joint twins with three legs and blood supply to third leg is from the baby girl’s body. 
  • Only one of the twins could have two legs and other had to survive with only one leg.
  • It is decided to fix the third leg on the male baby’s body so as to complete the male baby. This decision was taken on the ground of gender discrimination in our society.
  • The Siamese twins Tara and Chandan had to go through surgical operation to get separated.
  • Against the wish of doctor, the third leg was separated with Chandan but it goes rotted with the passage of time as there was no blood supply in it. 
  • Ultimately both the children become freaks. 

Bravely Fought The Queen (1991)

  • This play revolves around Trivedi family which consists of Jiten, Baa, Nitin Trivedi, Dolly and Alka.
  • The play depicts the exploitation of women in the family and home confined identity.
  • Indian society considers women as uncivilized, rude and ill-mannered needing to be polished. 
  • Violence is the tool that is used for the socialization of women.
  • Dolly suffers in the hand of her mother in law who provokes her son to beat her.
  • Jiten and Nitin gratify their sexual desire with market girls.
  • The issue of homosexuality is also depicted in the play as Nitin has homosexual relationship with Praful. 
  • At the end of the play, Alka and Dolly both rebel against the male dominance and their husbands realize their mistakes.
  • Bonsai in the play symbolizes the limited freedom to women. 

On A Muggy Night In Mumbai (2013)

  • It is the first Indian play boldly dealing with the subject of homosexuality. It deals with the gay themes of love, homosexual vulgarity among the youths in a materialistic world, partnership, trust, and betrayal.

Thirty Days In September (2013) 

  • The story revolves around Mala and Shanta and the play reveals the betrayal in blood relationship. 
  • Mala is sexually abused by her maternal uncle at the age of six. She suffers continuous molestation sexually which leads her to the arms of any man who she comes into contact with. 
  • Ultimately she fights against this exploitation with the help of Deepak with whom she was to marry.
  • She also came to know that her mother Shanta was also suffering from the same exploitation by her brother, but she never dared to reveal the truth because Indian society does not permit such relationships. 

Seven Steps Around The Fire (2013) 

  • The whole play revolves around the enquiry about the murder of Kamaala by Uma. 
  • A eunuch is denied to marry or even seven steps around the fire by the society and these seven steps around the fire result in Kamala’s murder. 
  • She is murdered because of her secret marriage to Subbu. 

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