- Qadir Ali Baig Theater Foundation in collaboration with KARVY brings the A Celebration of World Class Theatre
- Festival is bought in association with Telangana Tourism, the Embassy of France, Ministry of Culture, Salar Jung Museum, and Government of Telangana.
- This Year’s Theme: ‘Biographies’.
- Fringe Section : ‘Bouquet’
Hyderabad, November 16, 2014: HYDERABAD’S FLAGSHIP THEATRE EXTRAVAGANZA – Qadir Ali Baig Theater Foundation brings Globally-anticipated 9th edition of “Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival”.
Today on the10th and the last day of the festival a Hindi Play KAAMIYA was staged.
Kaamiya, the elder daughter of a middle-class Punjabi household, returns to her parents’ home after ending her marriage with her husband Murli. She is greeted by her anxious mother’s questions about why she left her husband, and Kaamiya says that she fell out of love. She enquires of her mother “Do you love father?” to which her mother responds by stating the number of years that they have been together and all the things she does to help him around the household. Kaamiya wonders if a couple’s relationship accounted by the sheer passage of time is an expression of love. Or could it just be habit? Kaamiya ponders such philosophical questions.
In the meanwhile, her aunty Sarla, the divorced sister of her father holds on to her pride and dignity as she lives off the kindness of her brother and his wife, a fact that she is reminded of by her sister-in-law every few hours of the day. Aunty Sarla left her husband even though he had a stable job and a good income because he would drink too much and beat her; a fact that she has to reiterate even years after the separation happened every time the people around her take it upon themselves to bemoan her lonely spinsterhood. “Why do people think that a married woman can never get lonely?” she asks at one point, hinting at Kaamiya’s mother who obsessively cleans the house in between the baths she keeps taking to calm her nerves.
Kaamiya’s soft-spoken but stern father welcomes Kaamiya back home without demanding any answers. But as soon as he starts to learn of her new-found “unusual” ideas about having felt trapped in her supposedly functional marriage and desiring freedom even though she was given everything she thought she wanted, he makes it clear that if she is to live under his roof she must stop saying such things and risking his reputation in the community. As the man of the house, he has inherited the sense that he must protect the ever-endangered ghar ki izzat and that any exercise of truly autonomous thought and action by a woman is a direct threat to his god-given paternal authority.
In a tender scene, as his sister Sarla indulges herself in her lofty dreams of a cottage in the mountains with a lovely garden and servants to look after her in her old age, he asks whether he too will be granted a small room there for himself; a rare reflection on the pressures that patriarchy puts on men too.
The mysterious discomfort the parents feel at Kaamiya’s questions uncovers an interesting layer in the play – the sense of a “more or less-ness” to the freedom the women enjoy, as all of them are allowed to be themselves and do what they want but only to the extent that it does not pose a challenge to the established order of the cookie-cutter mould of the ‘happy married life’.
The play goes beyond the smokescreen of the vague idea of a woman’s independence based on early conditioning and constant reaffirmation, which is in truth, a strictly defined pseudo-independence that can crumble at the slightest provocation. We also learn about Kamla, Kaamiya’s sister, who has ended up in the asylum after she didn’t pay heed to her father’s childhood warning that women who have lovers go to hell. Kaamiya often reminisces about Kamla and ponders over her naive confusion at her urges and instincts going against what she had been conditioned since childhood to want from life.