Book: Cut makes a cut
Author: Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
Pages: 279; Price: Rs 399
Cut, a novel based on the life and death of a prominent theatre activist Amitabh Kulasheshtra, certainly makes a cut in the realm of quality Indian writing in English. Undoubtedly, the author of the book Sreemoyee Piu Kundu is a confirmed feminist of high order but in no way her feminism is rabid and anti-male. It is not tinged with misandry.
The novel which has three different acts MI Jivanta Ahe ( I Am Alive), Blindside and Cut not only resolves around the life of the great thespian of India Amitabh Kulasheshtra but also sensitively depicts the predicament of women in our highly patriarchal society through the character portrayal of Sarla Kulasheshtra and Maya Shirale. As an ambitious young boy bristling with enormous passion to carve his niche in the world of Drama, Amitabh Kulasheshtra comes under the tutelage of legendary theatre artist Dada Saheb.
By holding the finger of his devout Guru, our protagonist makes his foray into the arena of theatre and one day like his master, he too becomes a name to reckon with. His life is indeed a paragon of austerity, stoicism and selfless service to humanity. By consummately delineating the trails and tribulations of Amitabh’s professional life, the novelist casts aspersions on our pseudo democracy. Unfortunately, ours is a democracy where the right to free speech and expression is in a great jeopardy.
The progressive voices of the artists and journalists are being muzzled. The memories of the gruesome killings of the authors and journalists like Narendra Dabholkar, M M Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh are still fresh on the canvas of our minds. This maverick too has to bear the brunt for his radical and revolutionary ideas but sticking to his guns, he does not hold his punches back and fights tooth and nail against the oppression of the underdog and downtrodden segment of society. Amitabh as a social reformer may be an ideal of the millions but for his wife Sarla, he is just a betrayer.
Here the readers realise that the novelist has all her sympathies with Sarla who, in fact, has been the real victim. Sarla is the reflection of the countless women of our society who have no right to marry the groom of their choice and who are merely confined to horrible domestic drudgery. The author has endowed Sarla with all those attributes that can arouse the feelings of Aristotelian pity and fear in the minds of the sensitive readers.
The plight of being a woman is portrayed quite poignantly through the characters of Sarla and Maya. Although in the modern times, people have progressed a lot, there prevails parochialism. Even the intellectual class is obsessed with male child fixation. The ghastly crime of rape becomes all the more horrend-ous when we come to know that a little child ( Maya Shirale) is brutally raped by her own predator father every night.
Albeit, the narrative seems to be loaded with sensuality but it does not sound offensive. Like a fear-less crusader, the author has an acerbic tongue and therefore the language of the book is sharp and scathingly satirical. Indubi-tably, Cut is a worth-reading novel due to its social significance and a soul-stirring story.