December 1999. Editor: Anjum Katyal
Till fairly recently, creative writing by Indians in English was widely considered, by critics and the intelligentsia alike, a marginal affair. Mere elite dilettantism by a favoured few for a favoured few; superficial, frivolous, not to be taken seriously. Vernacular literature was the 'real thing'. A few years ago, the tables turned with a vengeance that is still hard to taken in. More and more Indian voices are being heard in English; being critiqued, being studied, being published, earning awards and breath-taking advances, to the extent that eshtablished writers in English feel justified in dismissing vernacular literatures as insignificant–a sign both of their own ignorance, and of how things have changed. This new trend has been paticularly noticeable in fiction, and in poetry. Perhaps the last of the genres to respond to this surge of confidence and prolificity in writing in English is that of drama. Although Indian playwrights in English have been around for decades, the bulk of theatre in English, from froth to the avantgarde, has always featured foreign plays. Today, however, there is finally a body of work, written by Indians, in English, to which theatre practitioners can turn when looking for plays to stage. A quickly growing body of work, dealing with contemporary language which is as Indian as any of the other vernaculars. And of these playwrights in English, the one name that stands out Mahesh Dattani. Not only are his texts widely performed, but he has achieved that ultimate stamp of 'acceptabilty', the Sahitya Akademi Award given to him in 1998 for the best literary work in the English language to be published over the previous four years. This issue of STQ takes a look at original English language playwriting in this country. A probing interview with Mahesh Dattani helps him map his creative journey. This is followed by extracts from previously unpublished playwriting in English.
CONTENTS Editorial Of Page and Stage: An Interview with Mahesh Dattani From Keats was a Tuber Poile Sengupta From Women in Black Bubbles Sabharwal From Shards Gautam Raja Folk Dances of Bengal Sunil Saha Theatre Experiences Vasanthi Sankaranarayanan From Deconstruction to Deconstructionist: Harold Pinter Vishnupriya Sengupta Remembering Ranja Tripura Kashyap Body Blows: Women, Violence and Survival A Review Anjum Hasan Theatre Log Download the complete issue here