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Friday, March 22, 2013

Mahesh Dattani: His Stagecraft in Indian Theatre

Mahesh Dattani: His Stagecraft in Indian Theatre 


Dr. Vishwanath Bite
Assistant Professor,
Department of English,
Government of Maharashtra’s
Ismail Yusuf College, Jogeshwari, (E),
Mumbai 60.

AuthorsPress, New Delhi

Dedicated to Mahesh Dattani
My Inspiration

Mahesh Dattani: His Stagecraft in Indian Theatre consists of essays by distinguished academicics and scholars on variety of aspects from Mahesh Dattani’s various plays. The book explores the contemporary debates comprising the vast critical aspects on Dattani’s plays. Mahesh Dattani is a Sahitya Akademi winner dramatist who already have proved his talent internationally. Scholars and academicians have been trying to explore Mahesh Dattani’s plays through different aspects. With Mahesh Dattani Indian English Drama has achieved a certain permenant place in the body of Indian Writing in English. Plays discussed in the book are Thirty Days in September, Seven Steps Around the Fire, Bravely Fought The Queen, On a Muggy Night in Mumbai, Mango Soufflé, Tara, Dance Like a Man, Final Solutions, Ek Alag Mausam, Brief Candle, etc. The present anthology edited by Dr. Vishwanath Bite consists twenty-two well researched articles throwing flood of light on variety of aspects.
          The present volume will prove an ideal reference book to students, researchers and teachers of Indian Writing in English.

About Author

Dr. Vishwanath Bite, (b. 19th April 1983) is working as Assistant Professor in English in Govt. of Maharashtra’s Ismail Yusuf College, Jogeshwari (E), Mumbai. He is Editor-In-Chief and publisher of The Criterion: An International Journal in English, ISSN (0976-8165). He is on the editorial board of Lapis Lazuli and Thematics Journal of Indian English Literature. He has delievered lectures in many seminars and conferences and presented papers. He has published more than dozen qualitative research articles in national, international journals and books. He has completed his Ph.D in 2009 from by Shivaji University, Kolhapur. His published books are Indian Writing in English: Critical Perspectives and Booker Prize Winner Indian English Novels: A Kaleidoscopic Study and Some of his forthcoming books are Basavraj Naikar: Critical Perspectives, Indian English Historical Drama,  Shashi Deshpande’s Fiction: A Study, Indian English Drama: Thematic Reflections, Indian English Fiction: Postmodern Sensibility, Indian English Poetry: An Appraisal


1.    An Interview with Mahesh Dattani
Vishwanath Bite
2.      Mahesh Dattani’s Thirty Days in September: A Critical Study
Vishwanath Bite
3.      Representing the Other in Seven Steps Around the Fire            Anisha. N.
4.      Sexuality, Alternate Sexualities and Gender In Dattani’s Bravely Fought The Queen
 V. B. Chitra & T. Sasikanth Reddy.
5.      The Inconsistent World of Gays: A Psychoanalytical Approach to On a Muggy Night in Mumbai/ Mango Soufflé
Kaustav Chakraborty
6.      Mahesh Dattani’s Plays: a Mirror of Contemporary Society
Shiv Kumar.Dipanita Gargava.
7.      The Theme of Gender Discrimination in Dattani’s Tara
Anisha Rajan.
8.      Child Abuse and Its Psychological Repercussion in Mahesh Dattani’s Thirty Days in September
9.      The Noesis of Otherness in Indian Society: Mahesh Dattani’s Seven Steps around the Fire and Dance like a ManM. Preetha.
10.  (Re)Framing Present through Past: Dattani’s Synchronization of Discord in Dance Like a ManRashi Sharma.
11.  Mahesh Dattani’s Final Solutions: A Brief Rereading
Pinaki Roy.
12.  Marginalization And Identity Crisis In Mahesh Dattani’s Play Seven Steps Around The FireArchana Bhattacharjee & Bhairaban Borah.
13.  Opening the Discourses on Incest and Child Sexual Abuse With Reference to Mahesh Dattani’s Thirty Days in September
Raj Sree M. S.
14.  Speech Situations in Radio Plays: a Pragmatic Approach to Mahesh Dattani’s Seven Steps around the Fire
Umesh S. Jagadale.
15.  Study of Gender Issues in Dattani’s Tara
Yatri D. Dave.
16.  Decrypting Symbols: A Symbolic Reading Of Mahesh Dattani’s Ek Alag Mausam
Anjum Khan M.
17.  Gender Discrimination and Social Consciousness in Mahesh Dattani’s Tara
Grishma Khobragade
18.  Political exploitation through communalism in Mahesh Dattani’s Final SolutionsR.Manjushree.
19.  Tragic Elements in Mahesh Dattani’s Tara
Sophia Jaychandran.
20.  Spivak, Subalternity And Mahesh Dattani’s Final Solutions
Sanjeev Kumar.
21.  Tara: The Other Side
Rukhaya M.K.
22.  Tara: The Star That Never Shines
Sanchita Das.
23.  The Significance of the Play within the Play: A Study of Mahesh Dattani’s Brief CandleNidhish Kumar Singh.

List of Contributors
Vishwanath Bite
Assistant Professor in English
Government of Maharashtra’s
Ismail Yusuf College, Jegeshwari, (E),
Mumbai 60.
Aneesh bhavan Anad P.O
V. B. Chitra
Assistant Professor Of English
Dept. Of Humanities
Jawaharla Nehru Technological University – Anantapur
Anantapur Dist.515002.
T. Sasikanth Reddy
M.A., B.Ed., Ph.D. (S.V.U.) Pgcte., Pgdte (Eflu)
Academic Consultant In English
Ysr Engineering College Of Yogi Vemana University
Proddatur Town, Ysr Dist, A.P. 516360.
Kaustav Chakraborty
Assistant Professor in English
Southfield College
West Bengal.
Dipanita Gargava
Lecturer, Shri G.S Institute of Technology and Science,
B-178 M.I.G.R.S.S Nagar
Indore  45201.
Anisha Rajan
T C 9/1035
 Pin- 695010.

Shiv Kumar

House No. A40, Block 10.
Trilok Puri, Near Mayur Vihar Ph-1
M. Preetha
PhD Research Scholar in English
 Avinashilingam Deemed University for Women,
 Coimbatore- 641 043
 Tamil Nadu, India.
Rashi Sharma
Assistant Professor of English
Ramgarhia College
Phagwara (Punjab).

Pinaki Roy
Assistant Professor Of English,
Malda College, Rabindra Avenue,
Rathbari More, Post Office +
District: Malda – 732 101 (West Bengal).
Archana Bhattacharjee
Associate Professor
Department of English
Kakojan College
Jorhat, Assam.
Bhairaban Borah
Department of English
Kakojan College
Jorhat, Assam.
Raj Sree M. S.
Research Scholar
Institute of English
University of Kerala
Umesh S. Jagadale
 Asst. Professor in English,
 Sangamner College, Sangamner,
 Dist-Ahmednagar, Maharashtra State.
Yatri D. Dave
Nirma Institute of Technology
Nirma University, Ahmedabad.
Anjum Khan M.
BC-16, A.C.C. Colony, Madukkrai Post
Coimbatore 641105.
Grishma Khobragade
Dept.Of English
Birla College Of Arts,Science & commerce
Kalyan, Dist:-Thane- 421301.
Assistant Professor in English,
 Alva’s college Moodbidri,
Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka.
Sophia Jaychandran
Assistant Professor in English,
Vanita Vishram Women’s College of Commerce,
 Athwa Gate, Surat, Gujarat.
Sanjeev Kumar
Dept. of English
Govt. P.G. College
Karnal (Haryana).
Rukhaya M.K.
Expert Writer at
Sanchita Das
C/O Mrs. Supti Das.
Prakash Apartment(2nd floor),
Opp.Lokenath Sweets, K.B.Sarani, Near   
Gopal More, Deahbandhupara,
P.O. Siliguri, Dt.Darjeeling,
Nidhish Kumar Singh
Research Scholar
Department of English & MEL,
University of Allahabad,

The most exciting thing in the book Mahesh Dattani’s Interview is included which will help researchers, scholars, academicians and teachers to understand dramatic world of Mahesh Dattani. Vishwanath Bite in his well researched article on Thirty Days in September analyses the play through different perspectives. Anisha. N. in her insightful article, Representing the Other in Seven Steps Around the Fire, examines that Mahesh Dattani’s hand touches the heart of the third gender through his vivid portrayal of the hijra community in his play Seven Steps Around the Fire. She further says that Dattani explains the term hijra through the words of Uma Rao, a research scholar in Sociology, by taking recourse to the Ramayana and also tries to explore the misery of the marginalized sections of the society. V. B. Chitra & T. Sasikanth Reddy’s paper regarding Sexuality, Alternate Sexualities and Gender in Dattani’s Bravely Fought The Queen, highlight the place of modern Indian theatre that is predominantly urban, manifestly influenced by Western traditions even as it tries to find its own feet, still evolving and searching for a distinctive identity. They state that the drama is part of the larger ‘Indian theatre’, decidedly influenced by, and drawing inspiration from many of its traditional forms. Kaustav Chakraborty in his article, The Inconsistent World of Gays: A Psychoanalytical Approach to On a Muggy Night in Mumbai/ Mango Soufflé, discusses the homosexual bond between the gay characters that seem to be fraudulent, as revealed through Dattani’s play On a Muggy Night in Mumbai. He further says that we stigmatize the gay characters in Mahesh Dattani’s plays/movies with polygamous infidelity; we must do it keeping their psychological struggle in mind as well as should not exclusively evaluate their appeal on the sole basis of their sexual behavior. Dipanita Gargava in her well-research article, Mahesh Dattani’s Plays: a Mirror of Contemporary Society, states that Dattani’s plays are reflection of the contemporary society. According to her, Dattani not only deals with common and ordinary people but the common problems of people in realistic terms. In many of his plays, he deals with various issues like homosexuality, gender discrimination, communalism and child sexual abuse. Dattani manages to delve deep into the hearts to recreate characters with authenticity and a sense of liveliness. Anisha Rajan in her article highlights the theme of gender discrimination in Mahesh Dattani’s play Tara. She says that gender inequality is a form of inequality which is distinct from other forms of economic and social inequalities. It stems not only from pre-existing differences in economic endowments between women and men but also from pre-existing gendered social norms and social perceptions. Through this play Dattani brings out the root of gender discrimination by making the woman, the destroyer of another woman’s life.
            Shiv Kumar in his research article, Child Abuse and Its Psychological Repercussion in Mahesh Dattani’s Thirty Days in September, portrays the psychological drama of a character who suffers from sexual abuse which happened when she was young. His paper will mainly concentrate on the figure of the protagonist of the play Mala, around whom the entire play revolves and who occupies the major space in the play. The paper will attempt to examine the consequences of child abuse and how the solution is provided within the world of the play. In her article, The Noesis of Otherness in Indian Society: Mahesh Dattani’s Seven Steps around the Fire and Dance like a Man, M. Preetha throws light on the discourse of otherness in Indian society that is resulted as an outcome of the socio-psychological perceptions of the Indians. According to her, the playwrights who follow the tradition of social realism ruminate on the contemporary social problems like intercaste marriage, untouchability, sex, power and wealth. Their plays are more panoptic in scope and add a new colour to the Indian drama. Rashi Sharma in her insightful article, (Re)Framing Present through Past: Dattani’s Synchronization of Discord in Dance Like a Man, seeks to contextualize Dattani’s endeavour to harmonize conflictual sensibility of the characters in Dance Like a Man where past seems to dominate the present and yet tends to shape it. In addition, the paper also attempts to map out and challenge how the play strives to synchronize multiple dissonances among the fissured characters. Pinaki Roy in her article, Mahesh Dattani’s Final Solutions: A Brief Rereading states that Mahesh Dattani has always been concerned with truthful depictions of the Indian society in his plays. She further points out that in Final Solutions, Dattani gets to grips with the sectarian tension and mistrust between two major communities of India. The tense interface between the two communities of India in the aftermath of Partition provides the context for the basic situation. Archana Bhattacharjee & Bhairaban Borah in their contributory article regarding Marginalization and Identity Crisis in Mahesh Dattani’s Play Seven Steps Around The Fire, examine that Indian traditions are preserved in Natyasastra’ the oldest of the texts of the theory of the drama. The play Seven Steps Around The Fire claims for the drama divine and a close connection with the Sacred Vedas themselves. They comprise that the play beautifully deals with the pathetic plight of the hizras, their ways of life, their ardent sense of individual identity in a callous and cruel atmosphere where a minister had the young hizra burned to death.
            Raj Sree M. S. in her research article, Opening the Discourses on Incest and Child Sexual Abuse with Reference to Mahesh Dattani’s Thirty Days in September, observes that Dattani belongs to the tradition of avant-garde feminists who presents women as the centre of their fictive world. His themes reflect upon the ordinary and everyday conflicts of urban people who may be living in transitional periods of history, caught between the firm undertow of tradition and modernity.  She also mentioned that his characters struggle for some kind of freedom and happiness under the oppressive weight of tradition, cultural constructions of gender, and repressed desire. Umesh S. Jagadale’s paper about Speech Situations in Radio Plays: A Pragmatic Approach to Mahesh Dattani’s Seven Steps Around the Fire, highlights that Seven Steps around the Fire by Mahesh Dattani is characterized with the typical radio-play features like the use of sounds, silences, pauses, voice-over etc. The playwright sets the play in a stark reality of the socio-cultural ethos in the contemporary world. The play candidly uncovers the problems of gender identity of hijra community, their sexual exploitation and social isolation. He analysed the play through pragmatic perspective. Yatri D. Dave in her research article discusses the gender issues in Mahesh Dattani’s play, Tara. She studies that in this play Dattani focuses on the nature of typical Indian bious society. Tara is protagonist in the Play. She is a victim of social prejudices. She has all the quality of an emerging new woman ready to defy age-old prejudices and compulsions. Here emergence as new woman is reflected in her ability to take decision and assert her identity. Anjum Khan M. in his insightful article, Decrypting Symbols: A Symbolic Reading of Mahesh Dattani’s Ek Alag Mausam, explains that Mahesh Dattani’s Ek Alag Mausam is a sensitizing play articulating the unheard voices of HIV positive patients and prejudiced society. The play projects emotional, psychological medical and social ordeal of patients infected with HIV. In addition he also says that social hostility, prejudice and lack of awareness are  also symbolised through characters in the play. In her well-researched article Grishma Khobragade examines the gender discrimination and social consciousness in Mahesh Dattani’s Tara. Her paper is also an attempt to scrutinize Mahesh Dattani’s drama to show how he is conscious of the social system and that have come up in the contemporary India. The study is based on the hypothesis that Mahesh Dattani’s drama effectively depicts the gender discrimination and social consciousness of modern India.
            R.Manjushree in her article, Political Exploitation through Communalism in Mahesh Dattani’s Final Solutions, tries to say that the play Final Solutions is about the cultural hegemony how Hindus had to suffer at the hands of Muslim Majority like the character of Hardika/Daksha in Hussainabad.  And how Muslims like Javed suffer in the set up of the majority Hindu community. It disturbs the normal social life and also it is hindrance for the national progress. The play also presents different shades of the communalist attitude prevalent among Hindus and Muslims in its attempt to underline the stereotypes and clichés influencing the collective sensibility of one community against another. Sophia Jaychandran in her insightful article, studies the tragic elements in Mahesh Dattani’s Tara. She further discusses that Tara is an emotional play about a boy and a girl who are joined together at the hip. Their predicament is that they have to be separated surgically, which will mean the death of either of the two. Injustice is promulgated by Tara’s own mother, Bharati, whose preference is to the male child. This issue makes the play more compelling signifying that it is woman who perpetrates preferences. Sanjeev Kumar’s article, Spivak, Subalternity and Mahesh Dattani’s Final Solutions, seeks to investigate representation of subaltern in Mahesh Dattani’s play Final Solutions in the purview of postcolonial theory particularly from Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s interrogation of the voice of subalternity. He also comprises that while highlighting multifaceted vibrations of contemporary psyche and its distortions, especially in the postcolonial setup, Dattani unearths how the subaltern seeks to speak against a background of multiple oppressions—religious, social, familial, gender and, more importantly, psychological. Rukhaya M.K. in her article, Tara: The Other Side, says that Mahesh Dattani’s Tara comes across as a play that deals with twin aspects that are two sides of the same coin. It also presents the conflict between illusion and reality as echoed by the multi-level set. She also examines the title ‘Tara’ that is symbolic of a shooting star that is a temporary guest of a small fraction of time as the protagonist is. The idea also brings to mind the concept of the Binary star systems that consist of two stars that “are gravitationally bound, and generally move around each other in stable orbits. Sanchita Das in her well-researched article, Tara: The Star That Never Shines, observes the miserable life of the protagonist Tara. She also states that the play can be approached through the issue of simple man-woman relationship, or it can be responded to in terms of the disabled children’s struggle against a variety of odds, which have been put in their way by nature, or chance, or accident of their birth. Or one can respond to the text through the positioning of the girl-child in Indian culture and society. Nidhish Kumar Singh in his article, The Significance of the Play within the Play: A Study of Mahesh Dattani’s Brief Candle, discusses the technique of play within the play. With the help of this dramatic device, Mahesh Dattani indicates to his audiences that suffering, tragedy and death are inescapable human conditions but there is a possibility of reducing the sting and pain of these with the help of art, which in this case is dramatic art. Further he says, Dattani endeavours to show that life is not as bland as people usually think it to be. Life is full of joy and variety. The device helps Dattani in the representation of these two aspects of life.
 The Present anthology has strictly followed blind peer-review procedure while selecting the papers. I am thankful to Dr. P.Madhurima Reddy, Asst.Professor in English, Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology (CBIT), Hyderabad-500075., Dr.Anita Singh Professor in English, Department of English, Banaras Hindu University, Banaras, India. Prashant Mothe Dept.of English, Assistant Professor at Adarsh Senior College,Omerga Dist.Osmanabad, Dr. Rambhau Badode, Professor, Department of English, University of Mumbai, Vidyanagari, Santacruz (East) Mumbai for reviewing, selecting papers, making suggestions and sharing with me critical arguments.

I must record my deep sense of indebtedness to Mr. Sudarshan Kcherry, Managind Director, and the whole team of Authorspress, New Delhi for pursuing me to edit present volume. I must not forget to express my deep sense of gratitude to my respected father Shri. K. S. Bite, My beloved wife, Madhuri Bite for her help in editing and her constant support in my literary activities. I must thank My Brother Ramdas Bite for his love, affection and constant support.

Dr. Vishwanath Bite


  1. I am really mesmerised by Dr.Bite's blog. It is the outcome of hard labour of a scholarly mind that delves deeply into the subject. His ability to organise writers from various parts of the world is amazing. Love to read his blog on the literary giants. The plan to publish the book on Chinua Achebe is really brilliant and timely. I wish my best for his literary Masterplan.

  2. where can i buy this book? i need it urgently.

  3. Sir where can i buy this book? please tell me sir. I need it urgently please sir..

  4. Where to get this book Sir, Plz inform.

  5. Thanks for your instruction of publication details Sir....

  6. ssa sr ...i want yhis book it avialable in can i get it?
    m doing a research upon dattani sr ...student of m.phil .meen sukhwant

    1. Yes the book is available everywhere now. you may buy from any online store

  7. Sir this is Shruti A friend of your former student Jyoti from Ismail Yusuf college. I am highly impressed by your writings as I find them scholarly yet presented in a lucid language.Could you please let me know where to find this book of yours

    1. Dear Sruti, thanks for your kind words. you may find this book in any book store or online book stores as well.



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