The social taboo, women objectification, has seen its fair share of historyÂ throughout the years. Since the ancient times, when Draupadi was married off to 5 Pandava blood brothers due to their situation in ascetic life, till the date, when woman are still trafficked across the borders to be bought and sold in the brothels. Among such many different issues and stories, one particular story, Madhavi, has been brought to life through theatrical performance in the Shilpee Theatre, Battisputali, Kathmandu.
Madhavi is a wonderful example of the problem of woman objectification. The story develops as Galav, a disciple of teacher Vishwamitra, to pacify his own pride pleads his teacher to ask for Guru Dakshina. Teacher Vishwamitra to break his discipleâ€™s pride asks for 800 ritual sacrificing horses. The disciple upon hearing such a request was panic-stricken, but due to his own pride refuses to bow down and apologize to his teacher, and he instead roams the earth searching for such horses. Even after travelling for days, he canâ€™t find any such horses in his province. Now suicidal, Galav gets suggested by a Brahmin to visit the magnanimous king-gone-ascetic Yayati to ask for his help. The play begins from this moment.
Galav reaches the doors of Yayati. He obtains Madhavi in an offering made by Yayati, this father-daughter pair who find themselves entangled in the ropes of duty to Galav. The story evolves as the pair of Galav and Madhavi travel through the forest. During this time, they face a tribulation of choosing between duty and love towards each other. In a series of events, Madhavi sleeps with a number of kings to give birth to Chakravarti sons in exchange for the horses. After interesting events, the graduation of Galav and swayambhar of Madhavi is placed on the same day. The play comes to an end upon Galav seeing the corrupted appearance of Madhavi. During this period, the audience is forced to relook the situation whence Madhavi was treated as an object.
This rather tragic play has a sense of some comic relief during the play through. The intense emotions displayed by Archanna Panthi as Madhavi is really heart-aching. Her battle of conscience over love and duty is wonderful to look at and connect with. One cannot stop having sympathy for her as the story unfolds.
Though every character has a different set of characteristics and emotions, their perfected sync with each other makes this play a wonderful experience to watch. The play was brought about nicely due to its language, music, and costume which portrayed aÂ play of biblical times. This play isÂ a must for every feminist out there to watch, and no doubt a wonderful experience for others too.
Translated and Directed By: Tanka Chaulagai
Cast: Jiwan Baral as Yayati, Ghimire Yuvraj as Galav, Archanna Panthi as Madhavi, Pradip Regmi as Haryascha, Saroj Aryal as Devodas, Ram Kac as Vishwamitra, Kishor Kumar Chaulagai as Tapas, Sabin Kattel as Marich and other supporting actors.
Duration: 90 minutes
The play is currently being performed at Shilpee Theatre, Battisputali and Â runs till 29 August (except Tuesdays), 5:30pm (additional show on Saturdays).
By Atul Bhattarai
The writer is an A-Level graduate from Xavier International College and is currently doing his internship at Glocal Khabar.