Hindi play recreates Franz Kafka’s iconic story The Trial for the Indian stage | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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Hindi play recreates Franz Kafka’s iconic story The Trial for the Indian stage

An Indian playwright has adapted the German writer’s iconic story into a Hindi play Giraftari, which addresses similar “situations” in present-day India.

art and culture Updated: Mar 27, 2017 16:40 IST
PTI
Franz Kafka
Written during 1914-15 and originally titled ‘Der Procez’ in German, The Trial has been a touchstone of 20th-century critical interpretation.

Is man free enough to think without any restrictions given the “law is invisible” and the “court untouched”? Writer Franz Kafka had raised this question a century ago in his novella The Trial.

The German writer’s iconic story has been adapted into a Hindi play Giraftari to address “situations” in present-day India, which the director Rama Pandey feels, are similar to the early 20th century in Europe.

Today people are grappling with Kafkaesque experiences, says Pandey, as her play attempts to pillory the system in a contemporary narrative, much like what Kafka’s path-breaking literature did to the Austro-Hungarian bureaucracy in his time.

“The bhaav (feelings) used by Kafka in every scene depicted the social order of the day. We have tried to simplify it and adapt to the local conditions here. This play is about a man’s arrest and why he was arrested,” she said.

Written during 1914-15 and originally titled ‘Der Procez’ in German, The Trial has been a touchstone of 20th-century critical interpretation with subject experts even considering it a “mirror for any sectarian reading”.

But not much has changed in society even in the modern world – people are kept captive by the system, says Pandey. “In totality, nothing has changed in the modern world. The man was alienated from the society in the 1920s, 1930s, 1950s and even in 2017, the system, the law remain the same...people follow the system foolishly without logical conclusions,” she says.

Much like Kafka, Pandey has kept the writing of the play “bold”, punctuating the intense plot with well-timed humour. She believes theatre must always have a purpose, and render the audience with a “thought-provoking” experience.

The play which was staged here recently, was penned and directed by Pandey over a period of a whole year during which she went through as many as 40 books on and by Kafka to recreate the literary genius of the iconic writer.

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