1970-based play has a dig on patriarchal society

1970-based play has a dig on patriarchal society

Artistes stage a play, ‘Diva Bale Sari Raat’, during the Patiala Heritage Festival. Rajesh Sachar

Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 26

A historic play of 1970, ‘Diva Bale Sari Raat’, highlighted the patriarchal society where women are accused of not producing children. The play showed how even highly educated women in the countryside were told to be submissive and toe the line of men.

The play was staged at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) as part of the Patiala Heritage Festival.

The play revolves around a beautiful, poor village girl, Ayshan, who is married off to a middle-aged Jaani Choudhary in connivance with a scheming old lady of the village, Ambo.

Jaani, who is infertile, was forced into marriage by his sisters.

On the other hand, Ayshan resigns to her fate and accepts Jaani as her husband. She faithfully conducts the household chores, even sacrifices her own inclination towards a young nomad boy, Sibba, with whom she shares a platonic relationship and whose songs she is fond of. After her marriage, she yearns for a child. However, Jaani keeps avoiding physical relations with his wife.

Ayshan feels very hollow as she doesn’t have a child and Jaani was never there for her.

One day, at a fair at the dargah of a Sufi saint, Jaani accuses Ayshan in front of everyone of betraying him as she had been talking to Sibba.

Challenging the norms of the society, the courageous Ayshan tells everyone that Jaani was infertile. At the end, Jaani accepts that he was infertile and hates everyone, including Ayshan. However, he accepts Ayshan despite the fact that she had openly told everyone that he was infertile.

The role of Jaani was played by Manpal Tiwana, son of Harpal Tiwana, who originally played the character in 1970. The audience was awestruck by the performances of veterans Nirmal Rishi and Neena Tiwana, who had been the part of the original play in 1970. Notably, the play was made into a film in the early 1990s, after it drew critical praise.

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