Very little is known about Gandhari, wife of Dhritarashtra in the Mahabharata epic, expect for the fact that she voluntarily blindfolded herself throughout her married life. But, what was she in person and as a woman? Exploring these unknown aspects of her life is a theatrical production that will be staged in the capital on Saturday.
It was only after reading Iravati Karve&’s “Yugant: The end of an Epoch” that Sanjukta Wagh decided to explore different shades of Gandhari’s life. The book isn’t a retelling of the Mahabharata, but the author’s own interpretation and understanding of characters whom she fathoms as per their characteristics.
The many shades of Gandhari’s character stayed with Wagh, a trained kathak dancer, who single-mindedly focussed on writing the script that explored the journey of Gandhari as a woman and someone who opted the for the blindfold to share the pain of her blind husband.
Negotiating this relationship – between Gandhari and the blindfold, is the “Rage and Beyond” solo-dance production that Wagh has choreographed and directed.
“This character (Gandhari) was extremely intriguing because I wondered why a woman chose to blindfold her important sense organ and lose the experience of seeing the world,” the Mumbai-based artiste told IANS.
“Through this production I am exploring different shades of Gandhari, not her positives or negatives, because it would offer a narrow view of the character in the epic. But I have tried to explore her as a woman and see what she made certain decisions in her life,” she added.
The production is one of the six shortlisted plays of the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) that will be staged in the capital till March 26. The winner will be announced March 27.
Portraying Gandhari’s character with all its complexities isn’t the only subject Wagh would be touching upon. The blindfold, as a metaphor, would pose questions to the audience on their voluntarily choice of closing their eyes to certain subjects.
“I want the audience to empathise with her (Gandhari). But at the same time, I would be touching upon the idea of how in our life we opt for blindfolds to avoid certain issue. It is a choice we make,” Wagh said.