Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 23-24 (Jan 1993) p. 85.

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The Representation of Gods and Heroes

Farsi Mythological Drama of the Early Twentieth Century \Z\Anuradha Kapur

Arjun shoots the Pashupat arrow from his Gandiv. Jayadratha is decapitated and while his head flies off, his body falls to the ground.1

Venerable Shatra is shown meditating. Jayadratha's head flies in and falls into Shatra's lap. Venerable Shatra stands up, and his severed head is splintered.2

Devaki lies down to sleep. Bhagavan appears to her in his huge four-armed form. He then lies down on the bed in the form of an infant. Devaki is astonished.3

I note these stage directions in order to mark the importance of spectacle in the theatrical presentations of Radheyshyam Kathavachak's work. The importance of spectacle is emphasized in other writings on Parsi theatre too. Devesh Sharma says the following:

In Benazir Badarmunir, Hindi Natak Mandali showed the flying bed of Moherukh in such a wondrous manner that everybody applauded.4

Here is Somnath Gupt:

There were some out-of-the-world happenings as well: cleaning teeth with the trunk of a tree.. ,5

One of the first questions one might ask about spectacle is, how was it done? What stage machinery was employed, what light effects? Details to fill out our understanding of how such spectacles were made are very difficult to find. What is avail-

Numbers 23-24

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