Titas Dutta (Samuho): Atho Hidimba Kotha
Hidimba is a demoness from Mahabharata who was only mentioned twice in the epic. Once she consented in the murder of her own brother in Bheema’s hand as she wanted the love of Bheema. According to Vyasa, Bheema was not that keen about her, but he was advised by mother Kunti to ‘marry the demoness’ and eventually had a son with her in their very brief conjugal life. Later, in some regional versions of Mahabharata, we saw Hidimba appearing at the “Rajasyua Yagna” at Indraprastha only to be insulted by Draupadi for her lower caste birth. Her son was murdered in the battle of Kurukshetra by Karna, but her reaction for the demise was not even mentioned in the great epic.
It seems that the great poet Vyasa did not have enough space for Hidimba after writing eighteen ‘parva’s praising Pandavas, the righteous ones against the evil Kauravas. In ‘Atho Hidimba Katha’ Hidimba herself comes up with her own version of the epic on behalf of the marginalized people whose presence are never mentioned in history. While telling her story of the jungle life as a part of the mother nature, she brings out the parallel story of her mistrust, pain and deprivation which do not agree to the most accepted narrative of the epic itself.
In her story, no matter how she tries, could never meet Vasya’s narrative. The machineries of discrimination and marginalization on basis of birth, caste, race, religion or gender become visible as Hidimba redefines the idea of ‘demoness’ as not lesser but an equal human being. Telling her story herself, she encounters and rises questions that shakes the very foundation of Brahminical patriarchy that brings her to the realization that letting the power to write her story will never allow her to tell her real story. At the end of ‘Atho HIdimba Katha’ Hidimba, the demoness from Mahabharata ends her agreement with Pandavas and set out on a journey to create her own independent narrative.'
The play happens by a group of aspiring actors who plays characters from the epic and amends the story as their reality changes. As the play progresses, the difference between the actors and the characters starts to blur and there comes a time when the collective consciously choose a side within the play. To help HIdimba tell her story, they appear as all the insignificant part of the crowd – the villagers, the porters, the servants of the palaces or the soldiers running away from the battle field. Together, they tell a quite opposite story that lies beneath the epic glory of righteousness of the great Mahabharata and questions the binary of right – wrong, good – bad etc in the play ‘Atho Hidimba Katha’.
Directed By Titas Dutta
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