In spite of a crazy busy schedule when I heard that Rangashankara was playing a Girish Karnad play I just knew I had to make the time and effort to watch it. The cherry on the cake was that it was featuring Arundhati Nag!!!
Tickets were initially booked for 1st May, then changed to 30th April…nearly didn’t make it…but eventually really glad that I did go for it as it was tooooooooooo good.
Bhikre Bimb is a dramatic monologue and Arundhati Nag as the protagonist was just brilliant.
It is story of Manjula Nayak, a professor of English literature who has been an unsuccessful Kannada writer till she finds international acclaim when she writes an English novel, which becomes a bestseller.
The story starts with her introducing the audience to her novel in a TV studio, prior to a film on it being telecast. She comes across as a proud kind of a person as she mocks the people who criticized her and seems to lash out at them.
After she finishes her introduction, she is confronted by her own image on the screen which poses questions on betrayal of her mother tongue Kannada and identity when she chooses to write in English.
The image or we could say her divided self continues to question her about her personal life and her relationship with her parents, disabled sister and her husband and makes her confront the truth about herself. She tries to brush off everything but at the same she looks helpless and goes on to justify each of her actions. Even though she is the so called ‘vamp’ in the story, one cannot but feel empathy for her. It could also be something to do with Arundhati’s acting which gave me the goose bumps - her dialogue delivery, expression especially the one of helplessness and the look of 'imagine my plight too'
Eventually she comes clean on her plagiarism - the best selling book was actually written by her sister but instead of publishing it in her name after her death she goes on to publish it in her own name. One can’t feel scorn but only pity for her as she tries to put it all down to a misunderstanding by the publisher on the name of the author.
By the end of this confrontation she is on the brink of madness and again Arundhati was so convincing.
Arundhati Nag deserved every second of the standing ovation that she got!