A deep look into the mind

A deep look into the mind

Shabana Azmi’s act on stage deserves as much praise as that on screen. ‘Broken Images’, written by theatre veteran Girish Karnad and directed by Alyque Padamsee, was performed at Chowdiah Memorial Hall recently to an enthralled audience.

The play explores the idea of characters and images that make them who they are as individuals.


The plot revolves around Manjula Sharma, played to perfection by Shabana Azmi, a Hindi short story writer who writes a best-selling novel in English (to everyone’s surprise) on the story of a cripple, which one later discovers is her sister Malini, who passed away.

After giving an interview to a TV channel on the success of her book, Manjula is confronted by her conscience or as she puts it “her Freudian unconscious, forbidden impulses, dream, a bad dream, an interpretation of a bad dream” on the TV screen.
Through an hour-long conversation with herself, little nuances of the writer’s life are revealed to the audience.

She confesses how the novel is a plagiarised work of art, on the relationship shared by her husband and her sister and the envy and hate towards Malini for always being the loved one in the family, rendering her second best.

 The most intense scene, where she finally succumbs to her mind and the two personalities merge as broken images, coming together is enough to send chills down one’s spine.

“Shabanaji is one of the best artistes in India. She brought out the dual characters very well. It was really interesting to see how the script was written and it showed that a lot of thought must have gone into bringing out insights into how people behave,” says Abhinay, a member of the audience.

“It was a combination of technology and the star power of Shabana Azmi and the genius of Alyque Padamsee,” he says.

The play manages to take the viewer deep inside the minds of the two complex characters and thankfully, this fact did not go unnoticed by those who saw it.


 “The play presented moral dilemmas and reflected real life well. There were no black and white characters and it showed how difficult it is to tell who and what is right and wrong,” says Shridhar Poddar, who saw the play for the second time.

“I liked Arundhati Nag’s performance in Bikhre Bimb better. But I wanted to watch the English version because I enjoyed reading the script and it’s a more familiar language to watch it in,” he adds.


For Shabana Azmi herself, it was just as enjoyable an experience as it was for the audience despite her being slightly under the weather.

“It’s always a pleasure to perform to receptive audiences. Bangalore is one city that is very familiar with theatre as an art form,” she says with a smile.

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