Play Tara by Mahesh Dattani—Summary

Dattani's Dealing with Contemporary Issues:

Mahesh Dattani is a director and playwright based in Bangalore. His main interest is drama and that too in English. He knows that the scope of English theatre is extremely limited; even then he is quite successful in presenting his English plays on the stage. His plays mostly deal with contemporary issues such as gender - issue, male - dominant society and patriarchal family. The family is his battlefield, in which socialisation process is initiated. Patriarchy ultimately governs the relation of the members in a family and stultifies proper growth of children. Children grow up in urban middle class families in India as beautiful bonsai trees; small dwarfs, not natural lofty characters. Family traditions give them no freedom to develop according to their natural instincts and inclinations. Parents or family tradition decide their training and education as well as future profession even against their wishes and desires. Family is, thus, for Dattani Indian society writ large on the stage.

Play Tara by Mahesh Dattani—Summary
Play Tara by Mahesh Dattani—Summary 

The source of the story of Tara: 

Dattani himself gives us the source of the story of Tara. “Well , basically it began with ... reading an article in a medical journal about Siamese twins being separated and , of course , they were invariably of the same sex and there was this thing about a fused leg and which had the qualities of both left and right . So there had to be some careful consideration as to which twin was supplying the blood to the leg and the journal went into detail because it obviously was a unique operation and separation. Although that was the inspiration but I think by then having written ' Dance Like a Man ‘, I was prepared to take on the gender - issue head on , and I think that was a powerful metaphor.” The play is in two acts. 

The Birth of the Siamese Twins:

Patel, a Guajarati, is married to Bharati, a Kannad girl. Patel's parents disapprove of the inter-regional marriage and so leave Patel alone to carry on with the family. Bharati is a house - wife looking after her household duties like a traditional Hindu wife. Her father is a rich politician and exercises great influence on decision - making in the family. Bharati also wields great position in making important decisions in family affairs. In course of time Bharati gives birth to Siamese twins, a male, Chandan and a girl Tara. The twins have three legs. One leg is joined and fed by female child's blood.

Persuade the Doctor to Perform the Operation: 

Dr. Thakkar performs the delicate operation to separate the two infants. He knows that since the common leg is fed by female child, the leg could survive if allowed to continue with female child. But Bharati and her father bribe the doctor and having gender feeling persuade the doctor to perform the operation in such a way that the leg remains with the male - child, Chandan in the play. Against scientific or medical advice, Dr. Thakkar performs the operation as desired by Bharati and her father. After two days the leg dies and so both Chandan and Tara grow up with one artificial leg each. Chandan and Tara are , thus , invalid with one wooden leg each . Chandan's maternal grandfather leaves for Chandan with a huge amount in cash, but divides his house in Bangalore between Tara and Chandan. Chandan is brought up well and his father, Patel wants him to pursue his father's profession, but he wants to be a writer. Both the children are ' freaks and have health problem. 

Opening of the play in a room in London: 

The play opens with Chandan (Dan) sitting and writing in his room in London. Dattani's uses flash - back and memory with the help of music and lights to bring London and Bombay, the original home of Patel and Bharati on the stage. The play unfurls the plot as narrated by Dan. So the London room of Dan is realistic in sight whereas the other levels of the stage depict in flashback the plot of the play. Bharati's showering love and affection on Tara Bharati is shown on the stage as showering love and affection on Tara. Tara is quite unhappy with her wooden leg and wants to lead a happy and full - blooded life. But she is conscious of her disability. She loves her mother and finds her father a bit cool towards her. This impression is perforced by her mother's affection and feeling that her father is indifferent to her health. Tara grows young but she is not well. It is diagnosed that she needs kidney transplant. Her mother, Bharati, out of love and compassion for her child ultimately decides to donate her kidney to Tara, Bharati is shown in the play as a nervous person, as if covering up some guilt. Patel is worried about her health and asks her to be careful. 

Deaths of Tara and Bharati: 

Dan is in London to distance himself from his family and its impact on his life. The play he is writing is ' Twinkle Tara. He is sad to recollect how he and Tara were twins: “The way we started in life. Two lives and one body in one comfortable womb.”  But the nature is unfair to them . Tara is made to undergo kidney transplant. Her mother donates kidney. The operation fails and poor Tara passes away. After some time Bharati also dies. Dan receives a telegram from his father to visit home. But he refuses and asks his father to come to London. 

The climax in the play: 

The climax in the play is built round the emotional disillusionment in Tara. She learns before her death from her father, Patel, the secret that her mother wanted to communicate to her. Patel informs the children that three were to be blamed - the grandfather, his wife Bharati and he himself. Chandan and Tara had three legs between them. Tara fed the third leg. But Bharati and her father decided to give the leg to the boy. He could not protest. Bharati's father bribed the doctor. The leg would have survived with Tara and she could be a normal healthy child. But the wrong decision wrecked Tara's life. Tara is shocked at the revelation that she has been blaming her father of indifference and loved mother, who was the cause of her ruin. She could not stand it... 

Chandan and Tara with normal two legs each: 

The play ends with spirits of Chandan and Tara standing in an affectionate embrace. Both have normal two legs each.

Saurabh Gupta

My name is Saurabh Gupta. I have designed this blog to help those students and people who are greatly interested to get knowledge about English Literature. This blog provides precious knowledge and information about English Literature and Criticism.

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