Make way for the ‘DRAMA QUEEN’

Amrita Prasad
Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Suchitra Krishnamoorthi, who will be performing in   Drama Queen this weekend, gives us a glimpse into the play, censorship of the arts and pseudo feminism

Suchitra Krishnamoorthi is never apologetic. Her tweets are a proof that she’s not afraid to criticise a government policy or voice her opinion. Even at 42, the Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa actress, who is also a singer, painter, writer, mother and a theatre artist, looks as refreshing as Anna, the character she played 24 years ago. 

Suchitra will be in Pune this Saturday staging her play Drama Queen. While Inaayat Ali Sami has directed it, Suchitra has written and acted in the play which has been adapted from her book of the same name.

The actress in her candid, wacky, madcap biographical play, will take the audience on a hormone driven period of her life five years post marriage and divorce, fame and everything, promising to make you laugh, cry and look at the modern Indian woman in a new light. 

Here’s catching up with the bold and beautiful 
Suchitra prior to her performance:  

Script vs book 
“For the play, we decided to confine it to the lighter and humorous sections of the book and yet to get the dramatic and emotional element out of them was challenging,” she says adding  that writing a script is tougher than penning a book. “In a book, you can express the emotions by giving a deeper description, and the subconscious thoughts of the characters. However, in a play to get them in the dialogue, you need to write very carefully so that all the sub-conscious elements are kept intact along with the conscious elements,” says the My Wife’s Murder actress.

MARRYING FACT AND FICTION
“It is a fictional memoir,” she clarifies while talking about the play and adding, “I have taken incidents from my life, added some fictional elements and turned them into a nice potpourri of humour, drama and emotion. It has certain real names and episodes such as me proposing to my friends humorously and their funny reactions or the dialogue with my mother. Some incidents are very dramatised and fictionalised while others are very real. The line between fact and fiction is blurred here.”   
For Suchitra, the biggest challenge is to make the audience laugh along with her while she is laughing on the stage. “A lot of people feel that Drama Queen is a very serious and a heavy piece of work but it is not. It is actually a very humorous piece,” she quips. 

WOMEN AND MORAL policing   
Suchitra says that when you open yourself to the world it makes you vulnerable especially in India where people are so secretive about their lives. In fact, when she was staging the play in Lucknow people actually walked out of the theatre because to them, a woman, who openly talks about her life and her vulnerabilities, while opening a bottle of wine and expressing her desire for companionship, is utterly shocking. 
“Seeing me putting out my feelings and my story with such boldness and without feeling self-consciousness was what startled them because they still believe: sharam aurat ka gehna hai kind of nonsense — which I don’t subscribe to. That was one incident that showed resistance, but on the other hand, women approached me, held my hand and cried because they could resonate with the play and could identify with me,” says Suchitra. 

CENSORSHIP of the ARTs  
Whether it is films like Lipstick Under My Burkha, Padmaavat or a piece of literature, or a painting, a section of society always takes offence and tries to curb freedom of expression. Explaining the reason behind such a behaviour, Suchitra, who wants to start a chat show in the web space, says, “It is the new political environment that we are getting mired in. Everybody is fighting for an identity based on caste, culture and community rather than an ‘Indian identity,’ which I find very regressive. People are becoming totalitarian and I think it is a very unhealthy environment that is pervading our society and culture. It is the pitfall of the new government. People don’t know what they should do, they are confused whether they should be sanskari or modern. Their definition of things have become uncertain and hazy. But I think this dark phase too shall pass.” 

ON PSEUDO FEMINISM
Recently, an open letter written by a Bollywood actress, addressed to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, strongly criticised the film Padmaavat, and slammed the filmmaker for glorifying ‘jauhar’ resulting in further debates and arguments. Suchitra very strongly condemned the actress for making the ‘vagina’ statement. “To use a phrase ‘to be reduced to a vagina,’ is very detrimental to a woman and a woman saying such a statement should question her own psyche,” argues Suchitra. Further expressing her disappointment, she questions, “Everybody has the right to opinion, but in this case, it is absolutely wrong because it is a story that took place 700 years ago and we cannot use our own current moral and social compass to judge the decisions of a creed so many years ago. In the present day, women in ISIS captivity are also committing suicide. You can’t stop them, and you can’t do anything to stop rape in your own country, and you are criticising a creed that lived hundreds of years ago and calling it misogynous? It is ludicrous and this kind of pseudo-feminism is distracting us from the real issues that women are facing today,” she says.    

ST READER SERVICE
Drama Queen will be staged at Ishanya Amphitheatre, off Airport Road, Yerawada, on February 10. Entry starts from 6.30 pm onwards. Tickets available on www.bookmyshow.com 

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