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Rahman misses a Dora
rediff Entertainment Bureau | July 10, 2006 19:58 IST
Anosh Irani has heard people say a play is a labour of love. "I think it's more like being in labour," he said the other day, while accepting an important award for his play in Toronto, "a lot of pain and confusion."
His play Bombay Black took four Dora Moore Mavor awards, including one for outstanding new play or musical. Canada's best known awards for theater, Doras are given annually to plays and musicals produced in Toronto.
Irani, 32, wrote his first story in 1998 on a flight from Mumbai to Vancouver, after leaving his friends, family and advertising job to become a writer in Canada. It was as good a time as any to see if he could actually write, he says. Later, in Vancouver working on a fellowship, he wrote plays such as Matka King and Bombay Black, as well as two novels.
He describes his Dora-winning play as a tale of seduction, betrayal, revenge and that leap of faith called 'love'. It has also been described by some crirics as a sultry, spooky and surreal tale of thwarted love and bittersweet revenge.
Set in a seaside apartment in Mumbai, the play tells the story of Padma, who has set up her daughter Apsara as a dancer for men who have anything but art on their minds. The simmering resentment between the women comes to a head when a blind man comes to 'see' Apsara dance.
Though known mostly for his novels The Cripple and His talismans, and the just released Canadian success The Song of Kahunsha, Irani devotes considerable time to his writing for theater.
But not everyone was pleased with the Dora recognition. 'In a lacklustre year for new Canadian drama,' fretted The Globe and Mail, 'the outstanding new play or musical in the Independent Theatre division went to Anosh Irani's middling Bombay Black.'
Irani's plays, including Matka King, have been seen in tiny theatres in a handful of American cities, but there are good chances that Bombay Black could be seen in slightly bigger theatres (with about 200 seats) in bigger US cities.
Meanwhile, look out for The Song of Kahunsha, a fascinating novel about abandonment, poverty and violence, as well as loyalty, love and hope as seen through the eyes of a young homeless boy in a Mumbai teetering on the verge of racial violence.