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Performing Women/ Performing Womanhood: Theatre, Politics, and Dissent in North India

Nandi Bhatia (Author)
Synopsis In the late nineteenth century, the presence of female actors on public stages was widely debated among middle-class people, theatre organizers, and social reformers and it continued to be discussed in subsequent decades. This book looks at women’s relationship to modern Indian theatre and how that relationship has been articulated in twentieth-century India.

Bhatia examines representations of female actors, housewives, dalits, and courtesans in literary, cinematic, and autobiographical texts and in plays and performances. Focusing specifically on Premchand’s story ‘The Actress’, such films as Teesri Kasam and Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon, plays by Ismat Chughtai, Rasheed Jahan, Kusum Kumar, and Tripurari Sharma, and theatrical contributions of Zohra Segal and Sheila Bhatia, the book brings out key moments of historical and socio-political struggle.

By tracing the effectiveness of theatre in foregrounding women who publicly challenged familial, nationalist, and reformist ideologies and confronted caste biases, the book demonstrates the radical potential of this genre in modern India. The book engages textual analysis alongside examinations of archival documents, political statements, reviews, interviews, and journalistic debates, to demonstrate the deeply intertwined links between gender, colonialism, nationalism, political dissent, and theatre.

Revealing and thought provoking, this book will be indispensable for students and scholars of South Asian literature, theatre studies, feminist studies, colonial and postcolonial literatures, cultural historians, and anybody keen on exploring the link between theatre and women in India.
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About the author

Nandi Bhatia

Nandi Bhatia is Associate Professor in the Department of English, University of Western Ontario, Canada.

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Bibliographic information

Title Performing Women/ Performing Womanhood: Theatre, Politics, and Dissent in North India
Author Nandi Bhatia
Format Hardcover
Date published: 06.12.2010
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 198066937, 9780198066934
length xxviii+158p., Illustrations; 23cm.