"Finally we've a playwright who offers sixty million English-speaking Indians an individuality. Thank you, Mahesh Dattani!" remarks Alyque Padamsee, a director who has directed many of Dattani's plays. Mahesh Dattani was the first Indian playwright who received the most renowned literary award, the Sahitya Academy Prize in 1998 for the assortment of his plays, Last Solutions and also other Takes on. The citation described his work as "an excellent contribution to Indian drama in British. "
The postcolonial subject in India and in other places is oscillating between two varieties of rationality-one represented by the original ethnic thought and the other by modern european discourses. This issue between your two cultures becomes obvious in the works of Vijay Tendulkar, Girish Karnad and Mahesh Dattani where moral ideas find a fresh dimension. To them social suppositions are always not the same as the realities of life. For instance one cannot expect a child always to be an obedient or a blind follower of his parents. Unfortunately the clash of traditional and modern principles are an important part of the life of people at the moment. This clash is presented brilliantly by Dattani in his first play Where Which Will Mahesh Dattani like Shaw, uses the level to condemn many of the downsides prevailing in the population.
According to "Patriarchy is a public system where the role of the man as the principal figure of power is central to cultural corporation, and where fathers hold power over women, children, and property. It signifies the organizations of male rule and privilege, and is dependent on feminine subordination. The principle of patriarchy has been central to the interpersonal, legal, politics, and economic organizations down the age range.
In his first play (1988), Dattani occupies the issues of the patriarchal code. Indian culture has been a very traditional population with strong patriarchal ideals. Fathers have desired to have sons because they are supposed to take forward the name of the family, and because in their sons fathers have hoped to reside out their own dreams and dreams. Before this has led to a situation in which a father calls for unquestioning obedience from his child because he solidly is convinced that he only knows what is best for him. Subsequently this denies the son any opportunity for independent growth. With changing times, it has begun to improve. In Where There are a Will, Dattani exposes the hollowness of the patriarchal code, which cannot be adopted in the post colonial setting up.
The play revolves around a supposedly 'personal made' successful industrialist, Hasmukh Mehta. This patriarch is the supreme malcontent who attempts to dictate to his boy, Ajit, because he'd not toe his father's range. Though he makes Ajit the joint managing director of his organization, he will not allow him to formulate any company plan. However he does not make Ajit do what he wants. This he succeeds in doing when through his will after his immediate fatality, he denies Ajit the ownership of his property till the second option becomes forty-five yrs. old and in the intervening 21 years old years, continues to perform the business exactly in the manner his father did. However, as the play unfolds the ghost of Hasmukh Mehta, who is watching everything with triumph, realizes with dismay the folly of his desire. It also depicts the traditional couple romance through two decades and requires a bolder look at the new girl of the society in the form of Hasmukh's mistress Kiran Jhaveri. Dattani also shows the dark humour and irony through the proper execution of Hasmukh's will still left in the care and attention of his mistress.
The account has been narrated by Hasmusk Mehta, the conventional father who is of the thoughts and opinions that a daddy knows what is best for his kid, and Ajit, the kid who thinks in living his own life and thinking his own dreams. The first-half of the play presents the father's perspective where in fact the dramatist appears to be taking the side of the daddy. When the play starts Ajit is speaking with a pal on the telephone and showing him how he'd modernize the whole plant if he were given only five lakhs of rupees. Commenting on his dad Ajit remarks, "But he just won't pay attention to me. I don't believe he has ever paid attention to me in his life time. "(CP 455). Husmukh respect Ajit as an incapable and irresponsible young man of 12 who resists all his makes an attempt to take him under his wings. Ajit on his part considers his father to be always a head strong one who is merely not prepared to consider other opinion except his own. When they talk to each other, Husmukh is blunt and contemptuous, and Ajit is defiant. In a series of revealing interactions, the dramatist makes bother their attitudes clear:
AJIT. Don't have any rights in any way?
HASMUKH. You may have the right to pay attention to my advice and obey my orders.
AJIT. Many thanks. You are so large. I could kiss your feet.
HASMUKH. There's no need to do that, just polish my shoes every morning
and I will be happy.
AJIT. You will never be happy. Not until most of us party to your
tune. And I am going to never do that
HASMUKH. Avoid being so obstinate!
AJIT. You are obstinate too.
HASMUKH. I'm uncooperative because I understand I'm right. You're stubborn
because you are a nincompoop. ( CP 468)
Hasmukh's daddy is a typical patriarch. When his elder boy runs away from home to join several hippies, he tightenes his control over the other son, Hasmukh, who's removed from university and put to hard work in the manufacturer that his daddy had create. Hasmukh is obliged to his father for working out that he has given him. He keeps that if today at the age of forty five he's an extremely successful industrialist and one of the richest men in the city, it is all as a result of schooling that he has under his dad. He is unsatisfied with his boy, Ajit, because he'd not follow in the footsteps of his dad. He explains to him that he needs 'seasoning', to make him fit to perform the company when his dad would no longer be there. The dialogue shows the dominating propensity of Hasmukh :
HASMUKH. . . . I am going to retire 1 day, either from the company
or from this world. What will become of you then? I have to
season you now. You need seasoning.
AJIT. Seasoning! What do you signify seasoning? I'm not a block
of real wood! (CP 4)
[Ajit reacts to the and says, ]
AJIT. You want to run the show. Play Big Employer so long as you
can or so long as God permits. And when suddenly you
are called to a better world, you'll still want that can be played Big Employer.
and you can certainly do it through me. In short you want me to be you.
HASMUKH. I should have prayed for a little princess. Yes I want you to definitely be me!
What's wrong with being me?
AJIT. And what becomes of me? The real me. After all. If I am you,
Then where am I? (CP 461)
This is the essential conflict between your dad and the son in this play. The daddy wants a typical submissive, hardworking and obedient boy. He will not want a boy who's imaginative, individualistic and self-employed. The kid, on the other hand, is not ready to be only a prototype of his daddy. He thinks in living his own life and considering his own thoughts. "Why is it that everything I say or do needs to be something that somebody has told me or taught me to do?"(CP 459). Dramatist presents here not an individual case but a representative of the evolved society.
The postcolonial Indian population has undergone some fundamental changes. Even though a young man is working with his dad or other elders of the family, for example, in the family business or industry, he has his views on different facets of the task he is involved in, and wants those to be read and well known. Such issues have greatly affected the patriarchal code. Dattani's play shows both the strong desire of the older generation to preserve its authority over the young and the driven bet of the young to get away from this patriarchal code.
Husmukh does not spare his better half and daughter in-law too. His will after his loss of life is a impact to his family members. He has not kept his property unconditionally to his son or his wife. His better half Sonal is a powerless girl as she is confined to the house and financially reliant on her spouse. Dattani also questions the patriarchal moral code which calls for the faithfulness of a female to her man however, not the faithfulness of a guy to his partner. Sonal is stunned to learn about the mistress Kiran Jhaveri only after her husband's loss of life. Sonal remembers well that Husmukh is strictly the same like his father. Kiran Jhaveri, his mistress also recalls how her daddy is a real patriarch who beats his wife and her brothers also behave exactly the same way like the father.
Following the patriarchal code, Husmukh Metha while alive remains an utter inability as a father and a man. The genuine marriage of love, matter and compassion which should form the building blocks of an ideal family is extensively absent in his life. His life proves the hollowness of patriarchal code. Costs Gaither, in his tune Love Can Turn The World stresses:
If coal can turn to diamonds
And sand can turn to pearls
If a worm can turn into a butterfly
Then love can change the entire world.
The life of Husmukh Metha establishes the fact that with no love the patriarchal system which he uses becomes hollow and meaningless.
Dattani thus powerfully brings out the denial of individuality and chance for individual growth in a patriarchal code. In the name of custom and good manners and even obligation, the family is expected to follow blindly whatever they are really asked to do which deprives them of the drive and of their initiative. In Where There's a Will Dattani makes a vibrant statement in favour of the individual's to live his / her life corresponding to his or her own right. Even one may fail or come to grief he or she may be bold enough to handle life on his / her own conditions.
Dattani, Mahesh. Collected Takes on. New Delhi: Penguin Catalogs, 2000. Printing. .
Prasad, Amar Nath. The Dramatic World of Mahesh Dattani: A crucial exploration. New Delhi: Sarup Booklet, 2009. Print.
Gaither vocal Band. 'Love Can Turn The World Lyrics'. Uulyrics. Web. 24 Jan. 2011.
'Patriarchy'. Wikipedia. Web. 3 Feb. 2011.