Drama in her veins
Punjabi theatre personality Neeta Mohindra talks about her art form.
The urban woman dominates my canvases, economic independence does not necessarily translate into freedom for her. Neeta
ALL FOR THEATRE: Neeta Mohindra. Photo. C. RATHEESH KUMAR
"I'm here to take my first steps into learning the kalari, which I believe will aid in my stage performances," said Neeta Mohindra, the moving force behind the Amritsar-based theatre group, Rangtoli.
Coming to theatre nearly two decades ago when conservatives frowned upon a woman choosing a career in theatre, Neeta says, "I had taken the decision while in college that acting on stage was going to be my life. Minor roles as a collegian were always done under the threat that all such liberty would be curbed if I failed to do well in academics."
Roles in plays
The actor who is also into direction has to her credit roles in notable plays like `Ashadh Ka Ek Din,' `Adhe Adhurey,' `Abhisarika' (Balwant Gargi), `Rag Des' and `Tum Saadat Hassan Manto Ho.' In Thiruvananthapuram she presented Amrita Pritam's `Kori Haandi,' which is part of `Buhe Barian,' a montage by noted theatre personality M.K. Raina.
"Each tale gives shades of surmountable or insurmountable miseries and oppression that are as natural in the patriarchal system as is breathing," is the explanation. Travelling to Pakistan and the United Kingdom (U.K.) with her productions has been a learning experience.
Theatre in the neighbouring country has opened up considerably in the last decade and for that reason plays by women's group are able to dwell on sensitive subjects which was earlier kept under covers, says Neeta. Her production `Land of Five Rivers' travelled to 50 destinations in the U.K. with FETCH, a puppet theatre group. These were no conventional puppets-on-a-string but life-size ones and they performed with actors on stage. Handling gender-related themes, she found her streetplays on foeticide well received in rural Punjab. "Foeticide figures are alarmingly high in my State," she reminds you.
A painter by profession, Neeta is a teacher of Fine Arts at the Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. Here too, the themes deal with women.
"The urban woman now dominates my canvases, because I have observed that the economic independence an urban woman enjoys does not necessarily translate into genuine freedom. Earlier generations used to point this out as the reason for the woman's subservient status. The answer lies somewhere else," she concludes.
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