During present year’s Sangeet Natak Akademy Awards programmes, presentation of Girish Karnad’s written and directed Hindi play “ Bikhare Bimb” was a very precious gift for the city’s theatre lovers. Undoubtedly Girish Karnad is doyen of Indian theatre who proved his creative sophistication in his very first play by Yayati in 1961 which was centered around the alluring Mahabharat sagas; further he kept strengthening his own unique developed style through his acts like Tuglaq, Hayavadan, Nag- Mandala, Teledanda, Agni aur Barkha and Bikhare Bimb (Odaku Bimba, October 2004).
Girish Karnad’s exemplary career in modern theatre and Cinema was precedent with very successful academics as a Rhodes scholar in Oxford University, which was a parallel epithet of his life.
It’s a measure coincidence with this play (Bikhare Bimb) that Girish Karnad directed his play for the first time (His last directorial venture was forty years back when he did Badal Sirkar’s Evam Indrajit) though he received great assistance from co- director K.M. Chaitanya.
Basically Bikhare Bimb (A Heap of Broken Image) is a monologue and remaining characters has no physical representation in entire play.
Role of the protagonist (Manjula Nayak) have been played by the renowned thespian Arundhati Shankar Nag who have a glorious career graphs with IPTA branch, Bombay along a very close associations with the Activists like M.S.Sathyu, A.K.Hangal, Kaifi Azami, Balraj Sahni etc.
Her measure works are included (Khid ka Khala, (IPTA, M.S Sathyu), Satranj ke Mohare (Ramesh Talwar), Neela Kran (Shafi Inamdar), Road to Mecca (Prassana); apart from that she has penned the dialogue for Television serial Malgudi Days and assisted Director David Lean in Passage to India. At present she is working for Banglore based Rang Shankara, this play was especially written for this premier group.The story initiated and ended in same premises at a TV Studio; main led Manjula Nayak who is a professor of English and a low profile Kannada writer got an unprecedented name, fame and wealth over nightly through her work over an English Novel.
In the wake of her extraordinary achievement she had called up for an interview on Television, after her artificially crafted revelation of her success she suddenly caught in confrontation with her own inner self about her betrayal with her mother tongue and real identity.
Here her own image seems quite involves in three sort of role,as confessor, moderator and inquisitor. After a steep confrontation with her inner self she emerged though hesitatingly for a confession of her new falsified identity that actually pertains to her paralyzed sister. In further course Manjula revealed the story of her family life; she got huge amounts from her parents in their lifetime to carry on the proper care of her differently abled sister since Manjula has no child, so there are only three members in her family along with her husband and bedridden sister.
Implicitly there are three dimensional relationships are existing between these three characters; Manjula facing an insecurity with growing soft relationship between her husband and sister which finally got more deeper after the demise of her ailing sister.
After such occurring her husband got away from her world and shifted in America, this left a major blow for Manjula as she has been believing her husband faithful for her; equally that shattered her previously held affection for her deceased sister.Meanwhile in her desperation Prof Manjula managed to find the manuscript of a novel originally written by her sister, though she was aware about the creative energy of her bereaved sister but she infact never made her mind to go in detail with it.
She came thrilled to know about her hostile portrayal in novel but surprisingly in meantime she got a call from foreign publishers on her misunderstood identity with her sister. She now lost her own identity to come before the literary world as genuine author … she simply overtook her own ordinary past by attaining the identity of her bereaved sister.
Even though protagonist seems more indulged in opportunism and character assassination but in glaring light Prof Manjula being stood as equally cheated in glimmering nexus of relationship with her sister and unfaithful husband. In his natural and meticulous approach Girish Karnad tries to quest for complex intricacies of relationships which rapidly moving with unconventional eventualities.Indeed watching this play in pleasant atmosphere of Kamani Auditorium was full with deep satisfactions for realistic theatre lover…. And such feelings enhanced manifold if the creator of such plays happens to be among ones favorites. Of course the plays of Girish Karnad offers unique proposition to see candid realities in very comprehensive manners that heavily emerged from his very deeper ties with the Indian culture.
Undoubtedly his creative production has immense value to judge modern realities in cultural context.... such collaboration indeed makes things more liable for deeper introspection in new light. Indeed he is a man of focus with very few frills in his creative vision that simply make his contribution very close to the universal truth that frequently occurred in prevailing social structure.
Atul Kumar Thakur
August 1st 2009, New Delhi