The story of a pregnant king: A play that questions gender roles
Based on Devdutt Pattanaik’s novel The Pregnant King, director Kaushik Bose’s play Flesh is the story of a childless king who becomes pregnant when he drinks a magic potion meant for his wives.art and culture Updated: Jan 13, 2017 18:36 IST
Since time immemorial, theatre has been a tool to spread social awareness and create an impact. One such play that reflects and analyses our society, is director Kaushik Bose’s Flesh. The work, based on author Devdutt Pattanaik book The Pregnant King, explores different aspects of gender roles, sexual identity, dharma and religion.
“When the play is over, you will leave with an interpretation of your own.” - Kaushik Bose
“The story moved me and spoke to me at various levels. It is not just about LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer) issues or an impregnated man. It raises questions that we should be asking,” says Bose, adding, “The human nature of the story moves your far more than any issue would. When the play is over, you will leave with an interpretation of your own.”
The play revolves around Yuvanashva – a childless king who mistakenly drinks a magic potion meant to make his queens pregnant with a son. The plot follows his character as he struggles to come to terms with his true identity and gender.
“The story shows that no matter how capable you are, if you are a woman, you can’t play certain roles.” - Bose
“When Yuvanashva delivers a son, he is faced with a question — if he is the father or mother. However, if he chooses to be the mother, then he can’t be king. So, the story shows that no matter how capable you are, if you are a woman, you can’t play certain roles,” explains Bose.
The book is Pattanaik’s first fictional work. Talking about why he chose to explore topics of gender and sexuality through mythology, the author says that the idea of a man becoming pregnant fascinated him. “As people, we are comfortable exploring the unknown or the unfamiliar through fiction. So I felt this was a great place for people to deal with gender and sexuality related issues that generally frighten us,” Pattanaik adds.
“During preparations, we would sit and discuss what the king must have gone through. It became a journey that really widened our understanding of what a mother goes through.” -Mayank Gulati
Mayank Gulati, the actor who plays Yuvanashva, says, “A play of such nature makes us question our beliefs, which is very important. It throws light on contemporary issues around sexuality and gender.” He adds, “Playing Yuvanashva’s character was very hard for me as I had to channel a mother’s feelings being a guy. It became a journey that really widened our understanding of what a mother goes through.”
- What: Flesh, an English Play
- Where: LTG Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, Mandi House
- When: January 14
- Timings: 7pm onwards
- Nearest Metro Station: Mandi House on Blue Line and Violet Line