After A furore over nudity in a play staged by a Polish group in Bhubaneswar, audiences in Delhi saw a toned-down version of the drama, Sonka, with contentious scenes changed or deleted. Play director Agnieszka Korytkkowska-Mazur said that certain parts were deleted before the performance in Delhi “to respect the audience’s culture” after a discussion with Director of National School of Drama, Waman Kendre.
This refers to a sequence in which the female protagonist is gangraped and the actor is shown naked on stage. The play also tackled the contentious issue of eating beef in India by editing out a cow slaughter scene in which a cow is killed for meat by hungry village people.
Sonka was staged at Kamani auditorium on February 15 as part of the Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM), a festival of the National School of Drama (NSD).
In the play, the protagonist Sonka is raped by Nazi soldiers during the World War II, and the actor appears nude for a few moments. In Delhi, she wore a slip. Sonka had retained the nude scene when it was performed in Odisha as part of BRM’s parallel festival. The state culture minister slammed it for “vulgarity”.
“We respect your culture, we don’t want to make this kind of expression. We are not shocked with it (nudity). The most strong thing now is when people are not naked because everyone in Polish theatre is naked. We tried to make the play so as to not change the meaning but respect the audience in your culture,” Korytkkowska-Mazur said Tuesday. Was the censorship self-imposed or forced? Korytkkowska-Mazur could not clarify as the moderators of the panel discussion stepped in and did not let her answer.