The Second Sex

On late Friday evening,38-year-old Kalpana Bhosle,a domestic worker,was returning home after a long day at work with her 12-year–old-daughter Malti.

Written by AmritaJain | Pune | Published:February 27, 2012 1:14 am

Turning 30 this year,the play Mulgi Zaali Ho strives to address issues faced by women such as dowry,rape and honour killing

On late Friday evening,38-year-old Kalpana Bhosle,a domestic worker,was returning home after a long day at work with her 12-year–old-daughter Malti. Perched on their rickety green cycle,they stopped at Twists and Tales,the bookstore in Aundh. The usual silence of the narrow lane was replaced by voices asking pertinent questions. Their interest roused,the mother-daughter sat together to watch Mulgi Zaali Ho. It was a reflection of her own life. Married at the age of 13,she saw a story unfold in front of her eyes that she could relate to. Malti stood beside the cycle,looking at her mother reminiscing a time gone by and still fearing that a similar fate might await her.

The play,which turns 30 this year,is a commentary on the condition of women in the country. On Friday,the group by Lokayat presented the play for the 150th time. Though written three decades ago,it still had a contemporary significance. Written by playwright Jyoti Mhapsekar,Mulgi Zaali Ho,through its articulate dialogues and script,relays the struggle that most women face in a patriarchal society. A volunteer with Lokayat,Angad Patwardhan,switched effortlessly between playing the ‘groom on sale’ to an aam admi. “We have performed this play several times. What we always look forward to is the reaction we get from the audience. It gives us a sense of the problem that differs markedly in every strata of society.” Seema Suman and Varsha Sapkal who played the role of the nagging mother-in-law took one through the transition of the performance.

Trupti Joshi,the sutradhar of the play,spoke about the necessity of establishing a dialogue and addressing these issues. “In the last few years,we have not improvised the script. We have only added present episodes like the honour killing,rape cases in the city and dowry issues to highlight that what Mhapsekar had written about so long ago still continues to occur. We aren’t happy to stage this play,for it points to the fact that a lot of superficial development has happened. The real issues are still there,lying unaddressed,” she said.

Interspersed between the play were comic elements that pointed to the distorted balance that exists in the society. A life insurance advertisement that talks of a loan for the son’s education and the daughter’s marriage,a conversation between a newly married couple and the groom market made one laugh but also drove home a point.

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