BENGALURU: Homosexuality has always been considered as a taboo, not just in Bengaluru but in the entire country as well and portrayal of them is never totally justified. The commercial films too present the homosexuals as comedians or victims, believes Venkatesh Prasad, a theatre director. To help showcase women as homosexuals in the way they deserve, the 39-year-old director is launching his second directorial theatre play Ondu Preethiya Kathe. He claims which also happens to be the first Kannada play to discuss the homosexuality of women.
The story is an adaptation of the 1981 Marathi play, Mitrachi Goshta by Vijay Tendulkar. Although the original play was set during the pre-independence era, Venkatesh ensures that the play is set in today’s era so that the audience can resonate easily. The play is set in Mysuru where a girl named Preethi struggles with an identity crisis and her attraction towards her love is very well narrated her own friend Ajay. When she finally opens up and identifies herself as a lesbian, she has to face a homophobic society that prefers a straight relationship as the norm.
“Initially, we were looking for a good play and that’s when we came across this play and I felt it was apt even today,” Venkatesh explains. He adds, “LGBT community has been accepted to an extent in metro cities but regardless, it still is a taboo and many do not know how to handle the situation. Through this play, we wanted to give a message that homosexuality is just as normal as any sexual orientation.” The planning of the script started in October last year and the play, which is improvised, has five characters. Venkatesh had been interviewing homosexual women to get a clear picture on the main character and to also give out the right message to the audience.
“It took three months to finish the script because we had a lot of homework to do as as we did not want to give a wrong message or hurt anybody's sentiments,” he says. “The homosexuals whom I met could very much relate to the 1982 story even today,” he adds.The major challenge for Venkatesh was to deal with the main character.
Ujwala Rao, 29, who is portraying the lead role of Preethi also faced similar challenges. “Preethi is quite stubborn and unapologetic in many ways and the challenge was to make sure that generalisation is avoided at all cost,” says Ujwala who has been a theatre actor since the age of 10 years. When asked if it is necessary today for mainstream media to bring out such characters, she says, “Absolutely, it is necessary not only in theatre but in all forms of entertainment.”The theatre play will be staged at Ranga Shankara, J P Nagar on April 26, 7.30 pm.