‘When the Crows Visit’ to be staged in Kannada as ‘Kaakadosha’ in Bengaluru

In an era where societal introspection is paramount, the city of Bengaluru witnesses the arrival of a thought-provoking theatrical adaptation that shines a light on profound issues. Theatre aficionado and director Venkatesh Prasad presents “Kaakadosha,” his Kannada rendition of Anupama Chandrasekhar’s “When The Crows Visit.” The piece, brought to life by the Bangalore Theater Collective, paints a vivid depiction of familial struggles amidst a bustling Indian backdrop, while tackling the pervasive theme of toxic masculinity.

Venturing behind the scenes, one can find Venkatesh Prasad amid the fervor of rehearsals in JP Nagar. He spoke with heartfelt enthusiasm about the stage where his adaptation unfolds. Set in the familiar context of a Bengaluru family, the narrative rotates around Sharada, a widow, and her Mumbai-based son, Akshay. Prasad leverages the raw material from Chandrasekhar’s original as well as the psychological depth found in Henrik Ibsen’s “Ghosts.”

Prasad points out that “When The Crows Visit,” which found its first breath of life on the stage of London’s Kiln Theatre in October 2019 under the direction of Indhu Rubasingham, was borne of a true incident from 2012. This marks the play’s introductory bow in the Kannada language.

The decision for the former software engineer to pivot into the realm of theatre was a conscious step away from the predictable path. Over the past twenty years, Bengaluru has become both his home and artistic crucible. “Kaakadosha” is an intricate examination of the often-toxic male ethos seeping through Indian society. Prasad intends for the play to oscillate between comic family dynamics and the harsh realities of a patrimonial culture leading to destructive repercussions.

Prasad’s journey into theatre was honed at Samudaya, one of Bengaluru’s pioneer theatre companies. His mentorship web includes names like Prakash Belawadi, MS Sathyu, and Surrendranath S, forging him into a thespian of repute. Going beyond the stage, Prasad has filled roles as a translator, production manager, and an Indian delegate at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival in 2015. His role at the Bangalore Theatre Collective goes beyond founding; he serves as its artistic director.

The depth of “When The Crows Visit,” according to Prasad, lies not only in the exploration of family drama but also in the profound examination of deeply rooted patriarchy. The play uncovers veiled layers of violence against women and questions the precipitating factors behind certain violent behaviors. It was this gritty realism and lack of sugarcoating that drew Prasad to the concept, compelling him to forgo any form of stylization for a more honest and realistic portrayal.

Prasad’s earlier forays into theater adaptation have seen him tackle works by Anton Chekhov and Slawomir Mrozek. He has also explored sensitive topics such as same-sex love in “Ondu Preetiya Kathe,” a first for Kannada theatre. His contributions extend to the silver screen as well, with roles in films like “Signalman” and “Daatu.”

“Kaakadosha” showcases a talented cast, including performances by Shrunga, Gowri Dutt from Abhinaya Taranga, and Neenasam’s alumna Nandini Patwardhan. Audience members can expect an immersive experience when the curtains rise on February 22 and 23 at 7.30 pm in Ranga Shankara. Theatre enthusiasts can secure their passage to this layered exploration of society by purchasing tickets, priced at ₹200, via BookMyShow or directly at the venue.

As “Kaakadosha” readies to take the stage, it is set to become the latest beacon for those in Bengaluru and beyond, seeking narratives that question, challenge, and invoke change on the way perceptions are held about the norms that govern society.

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