On Sunday, 7 April, 2013, Australian theatre will get a double-barrelled treat; the stunningly talented Indian actress Shabana Azmi will star in the extraordinary, one-woman play ‘Broken Images‘.
‘Broken Images’ was written by Girish Karnad and directed by Alyque Padamsee who said of ‘Broken Images and Shabana Azmi, “It tickles the brain cells and thrills the heart. Ready or not, Australia, here we come with all emotions blazing!”
Prominent director, Padamsee hasn’t always been in back of the cameras. He played ‘Jinnah’ in Richard Attenborough’s production of ‘Gandhi’. He has a deep and thorough grounding in English theatre. He produced ‘Evita’, ‘Tuglaq’ and ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. He directed the play ‘Broken Images’ at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Mr. Padamsee won both the Lifetime Achievement Award for Theatre and the Tagore Ratna by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama.
In 1998, playwright, Girish Karnad, won the Jnanpith Award, the most sought-after literary honour in India. Mr. Karnad writes, acts and directs films and stage plays and does it in two languages: Kannada and Hindi. The Government of India conferred two of the highest civilian awards, the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan on Mr. Karnad, and he has won four Filmfare Awards for his work in Indian Films. Mr. Karnad has served as Fulbright Playwright-in-residence at the University of Chicago, the Director of the Nehru Centre and Minister of Culture in the Indian High Commission, London.
Shabana Azmi is descended from artistic royalty. Her father was noted Urdu poet and lyricist Kaifi Azmi and her mother was theatre actress Shaukat Azmi, Shabana is a veteran of films directed by India’s most well-known directors. She has worked with Shyam Benegal, Mrinal Sen and Satyajit Ray. Her stage work, most famously in Tumhari Amrita where she played alongside Farookh Sheikh, has received national acclaim. She has appeared in over 150 films in a career that covers four decades. She played in Mira Nair’s ‘Reluctant Fundamentalist’, Salman Rushdie’s film adaptation of ‘Midnight Children’ and Deepa Mehta’s ‘Fire’.
She has a well-deserved reputation for bringing her own identity to her screen and stage characters and for turning up the intensity of any role she take on. When she plays a character who acts as a fierce advocate of women’s rights, the poor and minorities, she is drawing from her real life as a member of Parliament and spokesperson for liberal values and freedom of expression.
The play, ‘Broken Images’, starts with a television interview with writer, Manjula Nayak, about her possible betrayal of her heritage. Unable to gain success writing in Kannada, her native tongue, Nayak writes a novel in English and succeeds beyond anything she imagined. She finds that her identity in her native language and the identity she assumed writing in English clash. She faces that conflict inside her own heart as she must come to terms with her two faces.
‘Broken Images’ will be performed at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre function rooms. The South Australian Government built the Centre in 1990 as a venue for international artists touring Australia. Seating 12,000 in the main room and 2,500 in the theatre, the Adelaide Entertainment Centre is considered one of the most flexible, accessible and marketable function rooms in Australia. It has been the setting for hundreds of events and has brought remarkable, live entertainment to millions of people.
‘Broken Images’ played to full houses in America before coming to Australia where it will be performed in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.