BEDTIME STORY / BLACK TULIP : A SCREENPLAY STORY
“Kiran Nagarkar is one of India’s most significant writers. Of a piece with his searing, dark, wickedly funny works are these experiments with form: the screenplay Black Tulip and the play Bedtime Story, both of which, in keeping with the author’s virtuosity, push the boundaries of their forms.
Meet Black Tulip, aka Rani, a seasoned con artist and yoga expert with a taste for expensive jewellery. Hot on her trail is ACP Regina Fielding, a daredevil cop whose style and panache Rani worships. Rani executes one eye-popping heist after another and the cat-and-mouse game between the two heats up. But even as things come to a head, Mumbai is held to ransom by terrorists, and the two ballsy antagonists, along with Rani’s new boyfriend, a computer whizkid and hacker, must come together. The fate of the city rests with them. Black Tulip is a pacey, entertaining caper with a host of seedy characters – corrupt ministers, mob bosses, petty criminals, religious fanatics – in a world where nothing is as it seems.In Bedtime Story, the author uses the epic Mahabharata as a peg on which to hang a shocking tale of injustice and oppression. As a grandmother narrates a bedtime story, giving delectable twists to the age-old stories of Karna, Ekalavya and Draupadi, we see the gender and class violence that underlies the old tales of valour. Traversing the landscape of wars across the centuries – the ancient war of Kurukshetra to the Second World War, from the Bangladesh war in 1971 and to modern-day wars in boardrooms, Nagarkar reveals how little has changed in the centuries since the Mahabharata.
Bedtime Story has been targeted by religious fundamentalist groups ever since it was first written after the Emergency in 1975 and this edition includes a trenchant essay on censorship and freedom of expression. The two works in this collection are a testimony to the multifaceted genius of Kiran Nagarkar.”