Remember, in 2 weeks from today, Ramesh Menon’s Siva Purana! It’s X-rated! It’s fun! It’s sex ed and religion all in one book!
Shakuntala! Super fun drama! Feels very Shakespeare, doesn’t it? Love stories, royalty, funny servants, the forest versus the court, it’s really universal questions in a monarchical society.
Anyway, things to discuss:
Love Story: Did you buy into the King’s love story? I have to say, I really did. Sure it was love at first sight, which is always kind of lame, but then he did talk to her. And he was torn between royal duties and his love for her, which is a sign of the depth of his feelings. And he was sooooooo depressed at the end, I think he must have really loved her. Right?
Shakuntala as Independent Heroine: What do you think? Was she just controlled by the men around her, or did she make decisions on her own?
Relationships Between Women: One of my favorite parts is that Shakuntala talks stuff over with her friends, and her friends know her so well. And that the friends are so supportive of whatever she wants. Did you get that too?
Social Roles: Not the point of the play, but very handy if you are trying to figure this all out. There are the religious caste who are destined to live in the forest and pray forever. And there is the fighter caste who are destined to lead and have power in the world, but also protect the religious caste as needed. Our hero has all the responsibilities of leadership and kingship, which includes being a moral leader for his country (therefore not wanting to risk taking another man’s wife). Shakuntala was raised outside of normal society, freer and cleaner, but she is not of the religious caste, she was never intended to stay forever in their world. Her mother was a minor goddess/angel/fairy/what have you, sent by the Gods to tempt her religious father. She is born somewhat outside of caste, outside of the world. Her adoptive religious father intended her to go off into the world someday to marry where she chooses, from any caste. At least, that’s what I got. What did you get?
Familiar Story from Films: Right???? The heroine intro scene with her adoring friends/sisters, the hero seeing her from afar and falling in love, the hero stalking and tricking, the heroine secretly almost dying for love, the hero trying to steal a kiss, the heroine trying to resist, the village girl and the rich urban boy, the misunderstanding, the ever faithful heroine and the mistaken and then forgiven hero. Heck, even the hero’s funny servant/friend is here! Am I crazy or do you see it too?