Poetics, Plays, and Performances: The Politics of Modern Indian Theatre

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Item Code: IDF077
Author: Vasudha Dalmia
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2006
ISBN: 0195674731
Pages: 380 (B & W Illus: 11)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.8" X 5.75"
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Book Description
From the Jacket :

This book addresses the political and aesthetic concerns of modern Indian theatre, tracing its genealogies, and looking in particular at its genealogies, and looking in particular at its appropriation of 'folk' theatre, as it sought to constitute itself anew after Independence.

In the heady early decades of the nation's self-discovery, it seemed natural to turn to Hindi as the language of production. What theatrical practice could this newly realized 'national' theatre invoke? Could it really become centred in literary Hindi? Was there dramatic composition in modern Hindi, did it have any theatrical tradition? Vasudha Dalmia delves into the past, to the plays of Bharatendu Harishchandra in 1870s Banaras, and forward from there to Jayshankar Prasad and Mohan Rakesh, landmark figures in the history of modern Hindi drama.

Later, Dalmia focuses on the intense urban interaction with folk theatre forms, their politicization in the 1940s and once again in the 1970s, which was to crystallize particularly through contact with Bertolt Brecht's epic theatre. Brecht's theatre held out the promise of widening the scope of middle-class concerns, as much as of overcoming the bounds of the proscenium stage.

The overall focus of the volume is on the politics of modern Indian theatre, particularly the action and reaction inspired by official policymaking in the capital of the nation, and in a chapter devoted to just that, its international representation. The last chapter maps some of the routes taken by avant-garde women directors since the last decades of the twentieth century.

This book will be of interest to theatre students, critics, cultural historians, scholars of South Asian theatre, and general readers.

About the Author :

Vasudha Dalmia is Professor of Hindi and Modern South Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. She has researched and published widely on Hinduism, colonial and postcolonial Hindi literature, medieval Indian religiosity, and modern Indian theatre.


List of Photographsxiv
1.'The National Drama of the Hindus': Harishchandra of Banaras and the 'Classical' Traditions in Late-Nineteenth-Century India27
The Orientalist Legacy and the Constitution of the National Drama28
Structure of Authority in the North West Provinces and the Invocation of Tradition32
Occupying Strategic Positions: Mediations and New Orientations in 'Natak' (1883)34
The Past as Framed by the Classical Sanskrit-Tradition and Shakespeare41
The Tradition of Social and Political Polemics50
The Future of Drama in Hindi: Reservations and Restrictions70
2.Twentieth-Century Projections of the Past: Jayshankar Prasad and the New Subjectivity87
New Interpretation of Traditional Aesthetics:
Chhayavad and Hindi Dramaturgy
Prasad's Perspective on the Evolution of the Modern Hindi Stage94
Filling the Gaps in History: Dhruvasvamini98
Fiery Feminism: 'There is red blood in my veins, there is fire in my heart'102
Celebration of Romantic Love: 'Heavenly light resides in two hearts which love'104
The Challenge to Orthodoxy: 'What is the truth of your ritual texts and your law books?'105
The Melodramatic Stage Frame and the Convolutions of Prasad's Modernism108
3.Neither Half nor Whole: Mohan Rakesh and the Modernist Quest117
From Idality to Reality118
Reality versus Ideality123
The Quest for the Whole126
Seeking the Other Half130
The Fragmentation of 'Reality'136
4.Folk Theatre and the Search for an Indigenous Idiom: Brecht in India153
Collection and Conservation: Folk Culture as the Nation's Self-expression154
Theatre of the People for the People159
Theatre for the Nation169
Discovering Brecht: The Links between Classical, Folk, and Epic177
Folk Forms Filtered through Brecht: Plays and Playwrights191
The Theatre of Roots199
Brecht Once More: No Heroics for the People212
5.Brecht in Hindi: The Poetics of Response234
Classical Sanskrit Poetics and Drama236
The Genesis of 'Svang'237
Conventions Compared: Folk Theatre and Brecht239
The Uneast Truce243
6.'To Be More Brechtian is to be More Indian': On the Theatre of Habib Tanvir251
With IPTA in Bombay251
Europe and Brecht254
Back to India and 'Folk'255
The Organization of Narrative in Theatre260
Brecht Filtered through 'Folk'266
The Merging of Folk with Popular268
On the Uses of Brecht270
7.Encountering the Other, Accosting the Self281
The Modalities and Pitfalls of Inter-culturalism283
The Modalities and Pitfalls of Countering Inter-culturalism296
Alternative Modalities303
8.'I am a Hindu': Assertions and Queries313
Women Directors of the 1990s314
The Vivadi Collective318
Nation and Religious Identity: Tagore's Gora (1907-1909)322
'Hindu' in the Age of Hindutva: Gora (1991)328
'I Am a Hindu'339

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