EXPRESSING THE WORDS AN INCH BETTER WITH THEATRE

“There’s theatre in life, obviously, and there’s life in theatre.”  – Charlie Kaufman


The highest purpose of art is to inspire and theatre is the greatest of all art forms. The real purpose of “Theatre” is to put its audience in a better position to understand the world around.

The world is a stage and the spotlight awaits you! The flair for acting in you calls for nurturing and perfection! Recognition is all that your passion demands. Let’s scrutinise the nuts and bolts of performing arts and theatre acting.

The fact holds true that the written words are expressed better with theatre; acting gives life to the words of great writers. There are always ways to mould your passion into profession. Some are born actors while others perfect their skills with practice. However, both have a hidden perfectionist actor in them alike.

People even after having the talent and passion are not willing or enthusiastic about exploring or pursuing as profession due to unsteadiness and fear of rejection involved. You need to believe in your abilities and give way to the profession open heartedly. Reality and statistics of the profession often terrify, but bold decision needs to be taken on your part. You ought to earn a reputation, living and perfectionism along with nourishing your besieged self-esteem. The sad fact is that this is among the most unexplored professions in the country as people are apprehensive about the end results. The profession however allows you to explore your creative abilities and makes you happy in a world away from the real one. It allows you to welcome your wild imagination and create something worth applause.

It is interesting to note that Theatre is as closely linked to the real one as it is removed from it. Life is a theatre and the skills, traits or qualities that theatre inculcates within you are perhaps more extensive and far-reaching than you recognise. These include oral communication skills, motivation and commitment, not merely doing things but doing them correctly, cooperation and coordination, time budgeting skills, taking initiatives and being a ‘self-starter’, promptness, quick learning, adaptability and flexibility, ability to work under pressure, develop a healthy self-image, self-confidence, leadership skills, enjoying while working, concentration, etc.

There is no limit to how you can explore the paradise of Theatre. One can start with joining the Theatre clubs or Drama societies in college, which gives them adequate exposure into the acting world. You could further hone your skills by joining a drama or acting school to learn the intricacies of the art like the National School of Drama, New Delhi; Film & Television Institute of India, Pune; Barry John Acting Studio, Mumbai; Actor Prepares, Mumbai; Asian Academy of Film & Television, (New Delhi, Noida, Mumbai, Kolkata); Whistling Woods International, Mumbai; Zee Institute of Media Arts, Mumbai.

You could kick-start a professional career in this majestic field of acting the moment you wish to, be it the ‘all happy’ and productive college days or later in life. Moreover, almost all colleges of art/ humanities and schools have a Drama society, which may act as foundation stone of a full-fledged career in it.

Don’t kid yourself by ignoring the call of your soul and of that set of skills that deserve recognition. Squandering the precious talent is utter injustice. The dwindling desire to take up this career is a gloomy fact. Give a big break to your interests and skills as ‘Theatre’ calls out for you aloud!

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THE MOST CIVIL “UNCIVIL” WOMAN: Ismat Chughtai

There existed once an outspoken woman who went an extra mile to challenge the “second sex” conception of women with breathtaking honesty. She turned out to be a rebellious and provocative writer with her voluminous writings tracing a successful path towards a very ‘uncommon’ approach. She bravely challenged the “other” image or position of women in the society.

“…she dared to raise the veil of hypocrisies in Indian society,” said Qurratulain Hyder, a contemporary of the fearless Urdu writer, Ismat Chughtai. This holds true as her acclaimed and contentious writings provide an explicitly clearer understanding of the often “misunderstood woman.” Chughtai’s stories are largely woven around the social milieu of lower middle and middle-class women, which she has keenly observed from close quarters. “An Uncivil Woman” tries to capture the essence and volcanic power that was Ismat Chughtai. It works to extensively bring out the tonality and surface of her written work.

India’s first female Dastangoi, Fouzia Dastango being a woman endeavours the break through the boundaries of the female world into the male world. She continues to strive each day to revive the dying art of storytelling, a tradition of 13th century.

Rakshanda Jalil, a literary historian, critic and author, offers an exceptionally intelligible statement in the book: “The Uncivil Woman” that is both rational and eloquent. Jalil offers a critical approach to Ismat Chughtai that tries to redefine the lens through which one should approach the writer and her writings. She seems to be shocked and appalled to realise that even after being popular, Chughtai had very few critical studies. She had critics but not much critical work attributed to her. The most explicit discussion was of the Progressive Writer’s Movement that is also known as ‘Anjuman Tarraqi Pasand Mussanafin-e-Hind’. The progressive literary movement advocated social equality and attacked social injustice. It was characterized by a change in society and literature alike. Ismat Chughtai considered herself a part of it. Ideological writing was considered ‘sehatmand literature’ that portrayed reality. The sexual innuendos (mention of ‘breast’ in the “Lihaaf”) in Ismat Chughtai’s writings led to obscenity in them, created a stir in society and ‘unnecessary’ attention of public. Raskshanda Jalil highlighted the similarities and dissimilarities between Saadat Hasan Manto and Ismat Chughtai. Chughtai though did not see herself as a proponent of homosexuality and gay movement but emerged to be so in minds of readers. Jalil contends the fact that “Quilt” did not contain any obscenity but it was in the minds of the readers as said by Chughtai’s lawyer. Chughtai had a feminist approach but was not essentially a ‘feminist writer’ at core as she focuses on both men and women alike in various writings. She does not only mention “Muslim women” in her works but “women” as a whole and was enamoured by Marxism. The discussion also brings forth the fact that Chughtai was not influenced by Rasheed Jahan, but admired her as she once says of Rasheed Jahan, “unhone bigaad diya.” The forward to the book by Krishan Chandra seems problematic to Jalil, but happens to be her favourite part too. Chandra says: “Ismat Chughtai’s writings are as complicated as women’s hearts.” Rakshanda Jalil feels that this statement is benign patriarchy but also gives an entry into a lucid and ‘correct’ understanding of Chughtai. There interview also had a discussion of the language, mocking approach and themes of Chughtai and her strong comment on religion in “Nanhi ki Nani” in the lines: “…allah bhi sharma jaye…”

The overshadowed personality of the remarkable writer that Ismat Chughtai is needs to be reversed. Jalil attempts to challenge that conception. The interviewee kept the audience involved throughout. Ismat Chughtai is a wonderfully reviving rainstorm in a dried summer and she is a ‘genre’ in herself.

Gender in Faerie Queene

New Media: Storytelling in Literature, Films, and Games

This is the second blog in a series of three in which I discuss topics that we have covered in the seminar portion of our class.

It was interesting for me to read into the male definition of female virtue and the fear of women in Faerie Queen in the context of Queen Elizabeth’s patronage of Spenser. He is obviously trying to give a positive light to women, yet his fears of women’s sexuality still comes out. I was immediately surprised by the presence of such strong female characters that dominated the narrative.

My reading of the poem as guided by the video analysis on Coursera brought me to the conclusion that Britomart represented a feminine ideal, as she embodying chastity. Even Malecosta, while representing the temptation of erotic love was nonetheless a character full of empowerment and I was impressed with the construction of how control she was of…

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The Discipline of Aesthetic Modernity

In Ezra Pound’s words aesthetic modernity relies upon the quest to ‘make it new’. For Habermas, modernism arises out of ‘modernity’, the condition of the new which lines the constantly changing path to the future. To quote Habermas, “Aesthetic modernism is characterised by attitudes which find common focus in a changed consciousness of time”, the time consciousness is expressed through metaphors of avant-garde, which is reflected in their venture to unknown landscape. This time consciousness of avant-gardes carry the touch of history but they use past in a very different way by objectifying scholarship of historicism. The creative activities done by the avant-gardes are nothing but post historicist attitude of recreating past. So the originality was diminishing. For Octavio Paz, “avant-garde of 1967 repeats the deeds and gestures of those of 1917”. The impulse of modernity is exhausted and yet to die. For Habermas ‘modernism is dominant but dead’. Hence the modernists became neo conservatist. Daniel Bell’s view is that Western societies are experiencing, in the guise of postmodernism, a split between culture and society. So concept of preserving modernism is the religious revival.

Looking out for God’s face

My heart is filled with those words,

that my mind is unable to express.

Joy that gushes through my soul,

at amassing of your immense Grace.

I cannot speak the words,

to talk of the pleasant candied relief.

They could never tell the wonder,

of the liberty from this anguish.

 You grabbed me in your arms.

From the depths You’ve raised me.

You stared into my eyes,

and your love has set me free.

Everything else fades into nothingness,

With your eyes locked with mine,

Your eyes looked deep into my soul,

Your life into me pours.

You’ve answered prayers, the unsaid words

that haven’t left my lips.

You ardour and You cherish me,

With your immortal fingertips.

You guide me on, and dancing madly,

I’m held within your Grace.

Held in imperishable arms of love,

let me always lookout for Your Face.

AFTER SHE SAID THOSE WORDS

Her lips finally shut after only seconds of motion. 

The river on her face proves her words were true. 
Where are we? 
The room suddenly feels smaller.
Every memory we shared raced through my mind and it put an unexpected smile on my face.
Why are my teeth showing?
I am simply happy to be around her, even with the news she has brought to me. 
Now I know that it truly is love between us, and I am fully prepared to remain in the same world as her until she is forced to leave. 
I cannot stop looking at her beautifully frightened, worried and nervous face. 
At least I know I don’t love a robot, but a human being. 
While her eyes are lowered in belief that I would be afraid to care for her as I had before this moment, mine are stuck on her, wet with even greater affection than before. 
The hand that is not tangled in her own is touching through her hair, feeling what will soon not exist. 
Her body is tense but mine is relaxed, because while she does not know how strong she is, I know that cancer cannot possibly defeat everything.

Love remains immortal, unconquered and eternal.