Southlander in Silk Road Rising’s ‘Doctor is Indian’ / by R. Sheth

Southlander in Silk Road Rising’s ‘Doctor is Indian’

 

SouthtownStar
A Chicago Sun-Times Publication
August 1, 2012


Southland native Kamal Hans will play Ashok in Silk Road Rising's readings of "The Doctor is Indian" from Aug. 3-5 in Chicago.

The readings will be directed by Anish Jethmalani and feature: Southlander Kamal Hans, Minita Gandhi, Puja Mohindra, Kelly O’Sullivan, Anita Chandwaney, Dipika Cherala, Behzad Dabu, Neal Dandade and Khurram Mozaffar.

Hans will play the role of Ashok.

“I have worked with Silk Road a number of times now and am always impressed by the caliber of artists, content and quality of the work being produced there,” he said.

“I grew up in Park Forest and then Olympia Fields and loved my time there. My parents are still in the area, moving down the street to Frankfort.

“The south suburbs helped ground in me strong Midwestern values, an ethical framework I live by and a family focus.

“ ‘The Doctor is Indian’ is tackling an interesting period in India’s evolution as a country. The country is assimilating Western society, culture and values while still trying to maintain its own distinct identity."

“There is an interesting theory out there called the McDonaldization Thesis. Basically, it deals with the worldwide homogenization of cultures, and I think this piece tackles many of the issues India and Indians face within this paradigm.

“Indian Americans in theater. Now that is a complicated subject. I am the managing director for the South Asian theater in Chicago called Rasaka (Theatre Company) and am proud of the work that Silk Road Rising and Rasaka produce when dealing with South Asians, etc.

“As far as the representation of South Asians in theater and media in general, we have made significant strides in my 25 years in the business but have a long way to go, particularly when telling our unique stories.”

If ever a family was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, it’s the Gupta family of Mumbai, India. In “The Doctor is Indian,” an unexpected takeover of the Gupta family business lands it in the hands of an American corporation.

Marital woes abound as traditional male-female dynamics are challenged. The specter of interracial dating rears its unruly head. Also, a poisonous legacy threatens the security of the family home.

Traditionally, an Indian family would have suffered said struggles with silent resentment. But in this age of globalization, intrusive modes of communication and Western-style family therapy turn tradition on its head.

Officials said its globalization at its funniest.

The readings will take place at 8 p.m. Aug. 3-4 and 2 p.m. Aug. 5 at Pierce Hall at the Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington St., Chicago

Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased online or in person at the box office one hour before each reading.

Reservations are encouraged at silkroadrising.org or (312) 857-1234, Ext. 201.

From the playwright

“It’s an honor to be developing my comedy about globalization and culture clash with Silk Road Rising and to finally get a chance to work with Jamil (Khoury) and Malik (Gillani),” Sakhrani said.

“ ‘The Doctor is Indian’ is my firstborn play and, therefore, very close to my heart. Having lived between Asia and different Western cities throughout my life, my goal with this play was to try and reconcile these two worlds, at least in my own mind.

“It explores how traditional family structures in Asia might choose to cope with the changing world in a way that I hope is both lighthearted and touching.

“I originally wrote the play with an Asian audience in mind and after having had a successful run last year in Singapore, I feel truly blessed to have an opportunity to re-create this play once again, this time for an American audience.

“I am very excited to see how this play is going to grow over the course of the workshops and readings in Chicago.”

Excerpt from ‘The Doctor is Indian’

ASHOK: These American methods don’t work here. We do things differently.

ANIL: You mean suppressing our real feelings until they burn inside of us and we all just spontaneously combust?

ASHOK: Yes, that’s right. It’s worked for many generations in this family.

ANIL: So did our business. Look what happened to that.

ASHOK: There’s no need to be as melodramatic as your mother’s Saas-Bahu soap operas. You want to leave, then leave.

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