Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Mar 29, 2010
Google



Metro Plus Delhi
Published on Mondays, Thursdays & Saturdays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | NXg | Friday Review | Cinema Plus | Young World | Property Plus | Quest |

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

Marriage under the arclights

Manjima Chatterjee on dissecting marriages in ‘Limbo'



Manjima Chatterjee

Manjima Chatterjee's Limbo splits open marriages, drags out the niggles and lets the characters attack their discomfort. Three couples, three marriages — each through silences and outbursts reconcile to a life together or apart.

Chatterjee's Limbo captures marriages in contemporary India travelling through new and old relationships, metropolis and suburbs. Her couples are entrenched in their gender identities. The oldest couple looks back at 40 years of marriage stuck in an udan khatola (a kind of cable car) over a holy place. The young, cosmopolitan couple squabbles over dishwashers, maids and remote control. Between the newly-wed suburban couple, dialogues are sparse with the “contemporary woman trapped in a traditional framework and the man caught up in his manhood.”

About her oldest couple, she says: “There is a choice-less acceptance of their fate with a pinch of humour.” Her urban couple's lives and conversations are “controlled by the efficiency of things around them” — so, the dishwasher would do to bicker. The couple in between cultures, Chatterjee says: “is about an India in between”, where the discomfort between the man and the woman is stark and disturbing. If humour is not far away in the other stories, here it is not easy to laugh.

For someone who writes in English, Chatterjee wrote the oldest couple's tale in Hindi and then translated it — “It was more real in Hindi,” she says.

The idiom of expression is a challenge when writing in English, says Chatterjee. “I am a Bengali educated through English and married into a Hindi-speaking household. So, I find my thought pattern expressed in English has expressions from my Bengali heritage and U.P. background; that's a conflicted position,” she explains.

For the 31-year-old writer, the endeavour is to write in English, yet keep the local sensibilities intact. “We should speak a language which the Indian audience can understand and emotionally relate with,” says Chatterjee. However, the playwright never contemplates for herself a role beyond the script. “I should not direct my own script. The director brings in another vision and interprets the script at a different level,” she says. A play, in its spirit and format, is not meant to be sacrosanct. “A play is not a novel. director and the cast take it to another dimension,” she points out.

The fourth in the series of five interviews with writers shortlisted for the MetroPlus Playwright Award 2010

P. ANIMA

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail



Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | NXg | Friday Review | Cinema Plus | Young World | Property Plus | Quest |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | Sportstar | Frontline | Publications | eBooks | Images | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2010, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu