Oakdalu Bimba

Yesterday I watched a Kannada Play called Oakdalu Bimba. Translated as “A Heap of Broken Images”. I am a frequent visitor to Rangashankar, a Theater in Bangalore. I have truly enjoyed all the plays that I have seen there till date. I normally go there at 10:30 in the morning to buy the tickets for the show (Which is always at 7:30 in evening) in advance.

I was all excited about this play as It is Girish Karnad’s latest play. When I went there in the morning, I noticed that there was a discussion about the play going on. I thought of sneaking in and have a look at what the group of people where discussing and debating about. On the stage, I saw, Girish Karnad the Playwright, Arundati Nag, the actress and two more people whom I did not recognize. (Probably, the Co-Director and Actress in English Version of the same play.)

The room was filled with acclaimed writers, actors, directors and thinkers along with common audience like me. They where discussing about the good and bad things about the play and I noticed that the playwright was recording their comments and even mentioned that he would make the changes if necessary as this play is still in its infantry stage.

People had weird comments. All started by praising the play, direction and acting but ended up with weird comments. One felt that there was split personality involved in the character; other thought that the acting was excellent; another said she did not appreciate the production as an overall and would have expected a better stage setting. So this room was filled with opinions and suggestions for the play. Not much made sense to me as I had not watched the play yet but I sat there and enjoyed it. Some felt that the writer had not done justice to the story; he had not presented his opinion in certain situations but has just explained it, as one would always know. Mr Karnad, silently heard all the comments, he was not in the intention of defending himself. A few words he spoke was something I could easily relate to. He said –

“Even an author might not completely understand his work. And I am not here to defend myself because If I explain my thought process, then that would be the final word and would not provoke any thoughts in you. Because it’s a general perception that the author’s words and his thoughts are the truth and should be accepted as it is without further debate.”

This was an excellent piece of thought. Similarly, people would have related to some moments in the play and would want that small point to be elaborated and justified where as that same might be a negligible thought for someone else. Hence this dissatisfaction and comment on the piece of art, I thought.

After staying there for a while and gaining lot of inputs before watching the play, I returned back home anxious about watching it, in the evening.

At 7:30 PM the play began. The stage setting was of an audition room of some television channel. Many televisions where placed on a rack behind and a big screen stood at the right hand side of the stage. On the left hand side was a table and a chair. Arundati Nag steps into the room and I was surprised to know that this was a mono act.

Manjula nayak is a Kannada novelist and she has just received international fame for her first English Novel. She walks in with an attitude; a proud look on her face, a made up face rather, slightly arrogant at times; criticising the Indian technology and bragging about her trips to America, London and Canada. After all that, she delivers her speech; talks about the novel, her inspiration and support from the family members. When the speech is done and she has to leave, she finds out that the doors are locked and the relay on the Television next to her has not changed, Her image is still on it but not her reflection, A women looking exactly like her and actually talking to her. After a few moments of confusion and explanations, one is clear that it’s her inner consciousness that in form the image on the television is trying to question her act, her outer made up face. And slowly the two converse and we are put open to the inner world of Manjula Nayak, and her life filled with pain, frustration, jealousy, betrayal and agony. Slowly and interestingly the moods and acts of her, during various important situations in her life is unraveled before us; A made up face and behind it a completely different image.

Picture from the net

The play is truly appreciable. Every human can relate to the character. And no matter what, our inner consciousness will always remind us of the mistakes we have done; wrong decisions we have taken. Arundati Nag is flawless in her performance.

After the play, I ran to the book store, bought a book on collected plays by Girish Karnad and took his autograph. Only last week I had seen his play- “Hayavadna” truly a master piece. I told him that I enjoyed the play a lot.

Another interesting thing about the evening was that I saw my favorite Kannada actress Aarathi . I wanted to speak to her and tell her that I enjoyed watching her movies and acting, especially- Ranganyaki and Shubamangala, but sadly could not do so. She disappeared soon after the play.

All together it was a great day.


  1. I had been to Rangashankara once and seen Nandita Das. I was impressed with the play as well. But I never went there again. Dunno why. Will go there again sometime. Maybe even accompany you, if you dont mind. Will be nice to meet a co-blogger and mangalorean. what say?

  2. Thanks, Yes it would be great to have a company. I keep going there all the time. If my friends are not free, I go alone because I enjoy watching plays. Its a totally new expereince. Will let you know when I go there next.

  3. I may not be in town for the next 2 weeks. Coz I am going home and probably to mysore the week after. Lemme know when you are going there again.

  4. I have never watched a play till date in a theatre. Looks like you really enjoyed it.


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