Girish Karnad's play, "Nagamandala," presents a poignant love story between two women, Rani and Nagamandala, set in the early 20th-century Indian subcontinent. Rani resides in a modest house with her mother, occupying a small room close to the outside world. In contrast, Nagamandala lives in a spacious house with his family. The story predominantly unfolds during the night, with a river flowing behind Rani's house and a garden filled with birds and animals during the day.
The Love Story and Obstacles
The play revolves around the blossoming love between Rani and Nagamandala. However, Nagamandala is already married, and his husband is unwilling to grant her a divorce. Despite this obstacle, Rani's parents agree to their marriage, with a condition that she can only move to Nagamandala's house after giving birth to their first child, aiming to avoid scandal and gossip.
A Drastic Decision and Reunion
After Rani gives birth to a baby girl, she makes a life-changing decision to run away from her husband, leaving her daughter with her parents. The story takes a surprising turn when Rani encounters Nagamandala once again, this time in a temple, and they reunite in matrimony.
Girish Karnad's "Nagamandala" weaves a compelling narrative of love, sacrifice, and fate. Through the characters of Rani and Nagamandala, the play explores the complexities of relationships, societal norms, and the human spirit's resilience in the face of challenges. The story's rich setting and emotional depth leave a lasting impression on the audience, making "Nagamandala" a timeless and thought-provoking theatrical experience.