Inspired by a real life incident—on the Indian Express expose by Ashwin Sarin, who bought a girl from a rural flesh market and presented her at a press conference—Kamala, written by Vijay Tendulkar, is a satire on society, human trafficking and other social issues. The play is about an unfortunate woman sold away in the flesh market and a so-called happy housewife Sarita, married to a daring journalist Jai Saluja. Both find themselves on the common platform of sexual slavery in this male dominated world. After directing Private Lives this is Sushmaa Ahuja’s second play for The Madras Players, at Museum Theatre, later this month.
Heart of the matter
Talking about the human trafficking issue, Ahuja says, “Not all the cases come to the television. Several cases of domestic violence never get reported. Flesh market does exist and men still look at women as property. I researched a lot on the subject, spoke to friends who are in NGOs and googled,” says the director, who has retained most of the original script. “We went with the translated version. The script has Punjabi names, so I have changed that’’ she adds. The play features Chennai-based actors like Sarvesh Sridhar, Achala Punja, Radhika Prasidhha, Roshan Mathew, Vidya Vishwanath and Rajesh Arora. It has been earlier attempted here by Amu Mathew in the 80s. “The sets for Amu’s show was by the late Mithran Devanesan and I have tried to replicate it same,” says Ahuja.
North to South
Ahuja has been involved with theatre since 1970 and has acted and directed plays in Hindi, English, Urdu, Punjabi and Tamil.She also directed a Tamil film, Uyirodu Uyiraga, starring Ajith Kumar and Richa Ahuja, her daughter. However, she prefers theatre to movies. “It gives you a kick when 800 people are looking at you and you are acting live. Depending on audience reaction, you can improvise your act later. Theatre is like food for the soul but television needs a particular type of script. It gets stagnating.” Having moved to Chennai a year ago from Delhi, Ahuja finds the theatre scene here active. “But I want a theatre cafeteria, where a board will have different scripts and people can make their choice,” she shares.
At Museum Theatre, on February 28, March 1 and 2, 7.15 pm onwards. Tickets at Rs 150 onwards. Details: 9840080783
- Mrinalini Sundar