Intimately Ismat

Ismat Chugtai is routinely celebrated on the pages of anthologies and translations,but now get to know the acerbic,rebellious writer on stage.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published:March 14, 2009 1:35 am

Ismat Chugtai is routinely celebrated on the pages of anthologies and translations,but now get to know the acerbic,rebellious writer on stage. She is the subject of the debut production of Dramebaaz.

Sabina Mehta Jaitly,who has written and directed the play Voh Din… Voh Log,says,“It is not from a dramatic text but from two short stories by Chugtai — Baccho Phuphi and Jadhein.” Bachho Phuphi is Ismat’s paternal aunt “who had a bitter and contentious relationship” with Ismat’s father. “Through brief snapshots laced with burlesque humour and farce,the pathos of this love-hate relationship plays out to its final dénouement,” says Jaitly. Jadhein is the story of Ismat’s family and a Hindu doctor. “As the spectre of Partition rears its monstrous head,some difficult choices have to be made by both families and communal prejudices often dictate these choices. Then Amma (Chugtai’s mother) makes her choice,and the good doctor makes his,” says Jaitly,who has used copious amounts from Chugtai’s autobiography Kaghazi Hai Pairahan to recreate for the stage the inner workings of Chugtai’s mind.

Jaitly plays Chugtai,Jasbir Malik is Chugtai’s father and Flora Bose Bachho Phuphi. Another stage veteran,Oroon Das,has designed the posters and brochures.

The plays will be staged at the India Habitat Centre on March 25 and 26.

Time: 7.30 pm.

Contact: 24682001

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