|Early Times Report|
Jammu, Feb 12: Play Loona by Shiv Kumar Batalvi and directed by Kewal Dhaliwal for Manch Rangmanch, Punjab is a story of subconscious state of mind of a young girl desiring for her subsistence, lustfully attracted to his own son.
The epic is based on the ancient legend of Saint Puran Bhagat (Bhagat is the Punjabi word for a saint, devotee). Puran is a prince whose mother has died and his father marries a girl named Loona, who's much younger than his age.
Loona, the stepmother of Puran, gets attracted to Puran and conveys her feelings to him. Puran, being a devotee of God and having pure thoughts, refuses. Loona gets hurt and seeks the revenge by convincing his husband to send Puran to exile. In the legend, Loona is the villain.
The play was second last in the Nutan International Theatre Festival-2020 being organized by Lakshya-The aim and Nutan Prayas Manch.
The playwright has taken a contrary view from the legend and created the epic around the pain of the teenage girl forcefully married to a man much older than his age, and further, renounced by the man she fell in love with.
The subject is modern because it takes up the ideological exploration of a modern theme viz the condition of women in a male dominated society and their fight for their rights. While the old form was a narration of affirmation, the new is dramatic, disruptive and revolutionary.
This theme is vehemently articulated by a number of characters in the play. Loona, therefore, becomes a symbol of suffering for all women, more so because she belongs to the untouchable caste. In her case the deprivation is double.
The basic symbolic polarity on which the play’s structure rests is Puran vs Apuran i.e. the wholeness, purity and perfection symbolised in the character of Puran versus the half-way men and women, who struggle and suffer and burn in the fire of lust because of their being what they are.
Kewal Dhaliwal to his credit has long unending list of awards, recognitions and honours in various field of Punjabi drama and is one of the highly acclaimed theatre personalities on the national scene.