Yoosaph A. It is highly significant in a taboo-oriented society to discuss the question of marital affair between the same genders whose relationships are a subject of great concern in India. Kamalesh, the hero of the play, convenes a meeting of his friends who stand for the affair between man and man, and woman and woman. His physical affair with Ed comes to light when he strongly supports the marriage proposal between his sister Kiran and Ed. The discussion of the proposal stretches itself into many grey areas of his plans and the total attitude of homosexuals centered in cities like Mumbai. Thus the analysis of the play here tries to argue about their concept of a society in which the issues of the custom oriented distinction are minimized.
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Mogili Anji www. I hate my abs. My chest will never be huge. My legs are too thin. My nose is an odd shape. I want to be guy in the Gillette commercials. It is the desire to attain the projected self image so as to be accepted and admired by io others. The flip side of this desire is that when one cannot adhere or perform to the given norms set by these luring self images, society pushes them to the fringe, thus creating the marginalized.
In many of his plays Dattani talks of homosexuals and er their subordination. Gender performivity remains a major issue in his plays. Section of the Indian Penal Code sets the law which says: C Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature, with any man, woman or animal shall be punishable with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment of e either description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.
The suppression of the homosexual component of human sexuality, and by corollary, the suppression of homosexuals, is a product of the same system whose rules and relations oppress women.
The problem of homosexuality hovers over our society like a ghost. Intolerance creates a claustrophobic atmosphere for all alternate sexualities, not just homosexuals, as they find themselves faced with a kind of terrifying alienation that seems to corrode all those ties of family, friendship or nationality which secure our existence as social beings.
II 1 June www. So, the question remains is homosexuality an unnatural aberration? Are people homosexuals by choice? And can homosexuals convert into heterosexuality? Contemporary theory suggests that gender is performative. According to Judith Butler, it is possible to make a choice since we become the gender we perform. In other words, gender identity is not fixed and permanent.
The two plays are of different kinds. The first one is on homosexuality and the other one is on masculinity or lack of it. On a Muggy Night in Mumbai is a play which is unique because it does not deal with one individual who is homosexual but a whole community of homosexuals and their psychological traits.
Prakash and Kamalesh were deeply in love with eachother. The separation between Prakash and Kamalesh causes immense io pain and distress in the heart and mind of Kamalesh. Thereafter, he comes in contact with Sharad and develops a homoric relationship with him. The play samples a wide range of male homosexual presence in Indian society. Kamalesh is a well-adjusted straight acting gay man. His ex-boyfriend Sharad rit is intelligent and campy. Bunny is a celebrity and is in the closet.
The play foregrounds the subjectivity of queer people in C contemporary metropolitan Indian gay society. He knows well that he will not be accepted by the heteronormativeii e society as it always tries to subordinate homosexuality. The reply suggests that he is also a gay but he is ashamed to admit the fact.
So, he instantly changes the answer and says that he does this for money. The guard knows that if he proclaims himself of being a gay then the heteronormative society will not accept him.
In order to survive he has to construct an identity for himself. Sharad is the only character who is not afraid of homosexual identity. Sharad, obviously does not believe in performing gender.
He is ready to accept who he is. Judith Butler when theorizing gender, sex and sexuality as performative maintains that the natural seeming coherence is culturally constructed through the repetition of stylized acts in time. Heterosexual society, Dattani suggests, wants everyone to repeat the stylized acts in sanctions. This is what Ed plans to do to get accepted, what Bunny has been performing and what the Vol. II 2 June www. Sharad remarks on this performance while mocking it thus: Sharad: All it needs is a bit of practice.
I have begun my lessons. Keep them wide apart. And make sure you occupy lots of room. The walk: walk as if you have a cricket bat between your legs. And thrust your hand forward when you meet people. And the speech. Watch the speech.
No fluttery vowels. However, she marries Alpesh so that she can continue her love affair with his boyfriend who is a Muslim. This n psychology is prevelant in many homosexuals. Herein crops up a sense of crisis which leads to a kind of identity confusion. As a key word in contemporary politics it has taken our so many different connotations that sometimes it is obvious that people are rit not even talking about the same thing.
One thing at least is clear- identity only becomes an issue when it is in crisis, when something assumed to be fixed, coherent, and stable is displaced by the experience of doubt and uncertainity. From this angle, the eagerness to C talk about identity is symptomatic of the post modern predicament of contemporary politics. This can be paralleled with the real life story of Hassanv, a 20 year old man from Morocco.
Bunny Singh is no different from Hassan and Jack. Ed[ Prakash] is also not free from these feelings and homosexuality has become unaccepted for him as the fear of social ostracization has grasped him.
According to Foucault, the dominant discourse constraints the free development of queer subjectivity and makes the person a minority, always protecting and defending themselves against the incriminating discourse of heterosexual majority.
Hypocrisy, is thus a part of the damaging discourse. It is only Sharad who does not believe in performing gender. He accepts himself as a homosexual. On a Muggy Night in Mumbai was published in the year when the homosexuals were treated as subhuman and they were a subject of laughter in the heterosexual world. II 3 June www. Changes started to take place in India since Delhi High Court recognized the same-sex relationship in the year and reports suggests that attacks on homosexuals by police have lessened.
Is Gender still preformed? The next play in discussion Dance like a Man apparently does not deal with homosexuality and gender performativity but does definitely deal with heteropatriarchy and raises question on gender construction masculinity in ref. Jairaj the main character of the play has to pay his price for not performing the role that he is supposed to play. He does not take up the manly path that his father thought he would and that is why he has to pay the ultimate price of sacrificing his dream.
This has become a catch line for the later feminists and they explored female exploitation in these terms. Indian text like Manusmritivi has also set codes of conduct not only for n women but also for men and it is said that one is not born but rather becomes a man.
The society has imposed gender stereotypes on both men and women and if anyone does not follow these io stereotypes, they are considered as outcasts. Dattani is talking of gender construction; not of female but of er male. In the play Amritlal represents the patriarchal society and imposes manliness on his son.
Dancing is considered to be something meant only for women and according to Amritlal these men who want to dance are not man enough. Masculinity and femininity are often treated in the media as polar opposites, with men typically assumed to be rational, practical and naturally aggressive and women, in contrast, are held to be expressive, nurturing and emotional.
Liberal or not gender prototypes of a man remain fixed for Amritlal. Dance, remains for Amritlal, a craft of prostitutes and thus a man who learns dancing is not manly. For men there seems to be no other way to be. II 4 June www. He would have happily made a cricket pitch for his son to play as because cricket epitomizes manliness.
He resists his son from taking up dancing as his career because it does neither give him social status nor any income. He is baffled as Jairaj goes against social norms. The underlying fear is obvious- it makes him womanly. Daddy, you make it sound so crude. I danced the same item. For the army. A friend of er ours arranged a programme and the money was good. Your mother was too scared and they only wanted a woman.
They loved it. They loved it rit even more when they found out that I was a man. Dattani Judith Butler in Gender Trouble argues that phallogentricismvii is understood as regimes of C power and hence Amritlal is afraid that his dancing son would loose power in the heterosexual society that he lives in. He wanted to persue Literature as against engineering the shortcut to economic success and social acceptance. Jairaj also considers himself to be equally oppressed by his father and the social conventions.
On a muggy night in Mumbai
On the night we visited Aroma Garden, everything that could have gone wrong had: Train services were hit due to faulty signals and our workday had been a stressful one. It was only on spotting the outdoor section that things brightened up considerably, as it was populated with families, contributing to the buzz of the place. Bavarian Choco Pie is a dessert made with cream, chocolate and butter over a biscuit base The family that eats together The outdoor section was covered with tarpaulin sheets, but the comfortable wooden chairs, glass-topped tables and bamboo canopies helped contribute positively to the ambience. So far, so good. The menu included a mix of Mughlai, Continental and Oriental fare. We started with a Chicken Chakori Kebab Rs which was chicken breast stuffed with chicken mince and grilled in a tandoor.
On a Muggy night in Mumbai: A Stage Play