By Shwetha K Rao
Bangalore Theater Ensemble recently staged the twelfth show of Ondu Preetiya Kathe, an adaptation of Vijay Tendulkar’s Mitrachi Goshta, a Marathi play which discusses the issues faced by a lesbian woman. It focuses on Preethi, a young college girl, and her story of coming out. It highlights her dilemma of being homosexual, the struggles that come with it and the society’s intolerance. The play portrays three male characters, each representing a distinct opinion society has about the queer community.
Speaking to TNM, Ujjwala Rao, who plays Preethi’s character said that they met people from the LGBTQI+ community who shared their challenges of coming out to the society due to social stigmas
“So many people face mental health issues and are driven to alcoholism by the society because they are queer. Whatever the orientation, love is still the same. Homosexual relationships are not just confined to the bedroom. There is so much more to that relationship,” she said.
Venkatesh Prasad, the director, told TNM about how the story still connects to people even if it was written 40 years ago.
“There is still a struggle for acceptance. When we met a few people from the LGBTQI+ community, they said that whatever was written in the script in 1982, they are treated exactly the same way by the society even today,” he said.
He further told TNM about the challenges they face as a team and how the audience struggles to accept this subject.
“We get many calls from people asking what the play is about. And when we tell them, they just don’t want to come. Whoever watches the play likes it, but we still haven’t seen a big turnout. Even some people from the theatre fraternity say that its difficult for them to watch a subject like this on stage,” he added.
Vyjayanthi, who plays Lahari, a bisexual woman, told TNM that the process took her from knowing queer people to actually being in their world.
“They are perhaps not open about it but they are very bold and accept themselves as they are,” she said.
Shrunga BV, who essays the role of Ajay, Preethi’s best friend, shared how he had many revelations through the play.
“For me, it was one of many realisations about my understanding of sexuality and how phobic even I am. So, that opened many doors about my perception of the community,” he said.
“The other part of the society wants to put this community out of the society. Why does their sexual preference have to affect their way of living? According to me, we should co-exist,” opines Sunil Kumar, a veteran actor and one of the three male characters.
Venkatesh Prasad further told TNM that their aim through this play is to make audiences understand that a homosexual relationship is as normal as a heterosexual relationship and to eradicate any stigmas or taboos attached to the community.