Mahesh Dattani on big fat Indian middle-class

HYDERABAD His laughter rings across the open air in a quiet setting at the Taj Banjara as Mahesh Dattani recounts his journey from his days as a copy writer at an ad agency to being the playwr

Published: 13th February 2012 07:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 05:55 PM   |  A+A-


HYDERABAD His laughter rings across the open air in a quiet setting at the Taj Banjara as Mahesh Dattani recounts his journey from his days as a copy writer at an ad agency to being the playwright that he is today. As one who has worn multiple hats as an actor, playwright, theatre and film director, Dattani is credited with bringing alive contemporary English theatre in India which explores the big fat Indian middle-class. “In order to write about it, something has to ‘move’ me.

However, my play Final Solutions was written when political parties started debating the status of Babri Masjid. It was Alyque Padamsee who saw the trouble brewing and got me to write about it.

Even as we were rehearsing the play, Babri Masjid fell and we received threats from various quarters. Even the administration in Bangalore asked us, what is the need for staging this at times like these? My answer to them was, it is relevant now and there is a need to bring it out. Only when an issue is covered up, do negative feelings begin to fester,” points out the playwright.

He was in the city as a speaker at the Celebrating Theatre series of lectures and workshops organized by the Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Foundation. Writing plays, as he does, which capture the essence of the humdrum of Indian lives, his choice of English as a language surprises many. “I was born a Gujarati, brought up in Bangalore and studied in an English medium school.

Since I think in English, it is easier to write in it,” replies the man who has directed Morning Raaga and Dance Like A Man, among others. The multiple perspectives which go into writing, directing and enacting a play, give it the final shape, explains Dattani. “One cannot control all the reins of a play.

Writing a play is tricky as you are not writing for the page but for the stage.

The form in which it is received by the audience also depends on the director and the actors.” Is there a threat to the theatre from the cinema? “it is not real,” believes the 53-year-old.

“Theatre usually puts the spotlight on the unknown and unspoken, whereas cinema does the reverse. Comparing both is unfair,” points out the playwright.

Rehearsals for his next play ‘Big Fat Squeeze’ are set to begin next month.

A satire on the aspirational lifestyles led by many people, ‘Big Fat Squeeze’ explores the lies that seep into life when one starts to live beyond one’s means.

Stay up to date on all the latest Hyderabad news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp