Malini

Malini is a poetic play by Rabindranath Tagore which advocates for love and compassion against hatred and revenge. It has connection to Nepal and especially to Nepali Buddhist scriptures. It is said to have been adapted from the Buddhist legend of Mahavastu Avadana which Tagore found in his friend Rajendralal Mitra’s The Sanskit Buddhist Literature in Nepal. The play deals with the historical conflict between the age old Brahminism and newly introduced Buddhism. The play deals with the historical conflict between the age old Brahminism and newly introduced Buddhism. The Princess Malini is initiated into the new faith Buddhism that motivates the action of the play. The Brahmins of Kashi, the home of the Hindu orthodoxy grow rebellious and demand the banishment of the princess. Their leader Kemankar resolves to bring forces from outside to uproot the new religion from Kashi…. He leaves his faithful friend Supriya to remain watchful and keep him to inform the happenings at home. However, Supriya comes under the influences of Buddhism and sees in Malini truth. He dissolves to the king the secret letter of Kemankar who is arriving with troops from Ratnabali to eliminate Buddhist faith from Kashi and to kill Malini. Kemankar is taken captive by the king. He pronounces death sentence for him. Malini begs her father for this life. Supriya also desires his life to be saved. Kemankar is brought in chains. He asks his friend to account for his betrayal. Kemankar feels that he betrays him for the sake of Malini. He is unconvinced by Supriya’s answer. He hurls his heavy iron letters on his head and kills him. Distraught king orders his sword to be brought. Malini, despite the shock of the deadly act, makes spontaneous appeal to forgive the rebel. – Pathan M.D, Interpretation of Legend in Tagore’s Malini To create a theatre going culture, theatre needs to be reached to the mass of younger generation. Malini is the prescribed play for the students of Grade 11 and thus Malini could be an appropriate text to reach to the mass of 11 and 12 grade students. The main objective of performing this play is to create a sustainable audience for the Nepali Theatre.

Directional Note

Some texts, though old, remain relevant for ages. Tagore’s Malini, written in 1895, is aptly relevant today to deal with love and humanism against narrow sectarianism. Play is about fantasy, myth, love and hatred. It also talks about the dilemma and complexity of life of a commoner. Play is very poetic and philosophical. It is highly political, too, which reveals spectacular visual in our thought. So that we have tried to narrate the story through stenographic vocabulary and different kinds of design treatment to make the text much stronger: I think the play demands the same. The play has adapted an unusual process. It is close to installation and happening art form and it has also a touch of architectural view point which attempts to work in line with cutting age thought provoking genre that is now shaping its identity as a postmodern theatre form in international theatre milieu. Here, it deals with the tension between the content and the treatment of the play: interplay or jugalbandi with each others. We have played with line, texture, politics, shape and form. We have played with repetition to make it happen, and with the underlying stress between the characters. Materials serve as characters or narrators and actors serve as the material or object in the play. In the text, we have observed the themes like material Vs emotion, life Vs death, impulse Vs robotic human, nature Vs human power, greed and avarices in the name of peace, love and support for the benefit of personal ego and ambitions. World is an example, our country is an example or our society is an example. Who do the characters of the play signify to in current time and space? – this was the prominent question we pondered upon before we delved into the process of transforming Malini from page to stage. We contemplated on international political imposition to Nepal, a contemporary surroundings that is shaping individual thoughts, peace and violence, hatred and betrayal, and love and compassion. We have found the play aptly relevant to current Nepali situation. The issues of caste, class, religion and politics are on the rise. The whole set of changes like people’s movement, establishment of democracy, Maoist  revolution,  royal massacre, the king’s exit,  peace making process, constitution making, ongoing  political unrest, and the political hegemony staged in our mind while going through its design. And today’s synthetic world further stripped nude with hatred, avarice and corruption has the resemblance with the world of hatred and narrow sectarianism portrayed in the play. So, we tried to digitalize and render it mechanically but with due respect to its political and philosophical spirit.