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    With Ali J premiering here, we highlight a few plays that stirred debates

    Chennai sees at least one play staged every weekend, and as V Balakrishnan of Theatre Nisha puts it, most of them are politically correct. a�?I know a couple of Tamil plays like Balloon that have encouraged debate, but English theatre is very politically right. Because of heavy opposition, they did not get The Vagina Monologues to Chennai,a�? admits the theatre director. But now we have Evama��s 29th play, Ali J, scheduled to be staged at Alliance Francaise next week. According to Karthik Kumar, the play narrates Alia��s love story.

    a�?a�?It also tracks the life of Muhammad Ali Jinnah a�� thus the a�?Ja�� in the name a�� and throws light on the Partition and the need for a separate nation,a�? says Kumar, who essays Ali. a�?We were questioned as to why we are talking about Jinnah,a�? he says. However, despite opposition in Bangalore, the play was staged with police protection. Ramakrishnan, of The Madras Players recalls, other plays that have sparked controversy.

    Anna Weiss: The Madras Players produced Anna Weiss, a play about a daughter sexually assaulted by her father. a�?Ten years ago when we showcased this play, it left the audience in shock. For the first time, the audience demanded an interaction after the play.a�?

    Thaneer Thaneer: Again by The Madras Players, this play went to court back in 1980 and had to be cleared to be performed.A� a�?a�?When Komal Swaminathan wrote Thaneer Thaneer, it was stopped by the government.a��a��

    Acid: Acid is about a TV journalist who was attacked with the chemical. a�?Five years ago, acid attacks on girls were on a high. They wanted us to change the name of the play. We had a tough time getting it approved by the police.a�?

    Ali J will be staged at Alliance Francaise on March 9. Tickets, `400 onwards, on indianstage.in

    – Mrinalini Sundar


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