A Critique of Gender Roles in Mahesh Dattani’s Dance Like a Man
Bharatanatyam is an ancient Indian classical dance form that originated from Tamil Nadu. It was performed by devadasis (prostitutes) in royal courts in the early period. Later, the elite Indian class separates it from devadasis and makes it more like a commodity. A man’s passion towards such kind of an art form creates commotion in a patriarchal society. His manhood is questioned and he is considered as inferior to the exaggerated version of masculinity. The breaking of particular roles which are destined to each gender in a society leads to tension within the patriarchy. Mahesh Dattani’s play Dance Like a Man explores themes like gender discrimination, stereotyping, gender roles and identity crisis. In reality, the problems of men due to gender discrimination is not discussed effectively. This play tries to give a clear picture of a male victim of gender discrimination through Jairaj’s character. The current research explores the problems in reversing gender roles, question on masculinity and involvement of society in carrying gender stereotypes as portrayed in Dance Like a Man.
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