Izzat Bai - She does what she must, to survive

Kamala Subramaniam as Izzat Bai

Kamala Subramaniam as Izzat Bai

Izzat means respect. Ironical, isn't it?

Izzat’s character in the play represents the thousands of slum dwellers who were the first to succumb to the gas leak from the Union Carbide plant.

She represents their plight. Their despair. Their helplessness. Their angst.

Izzat Bai is the metaphorical bone fought over by Dr. Sonya Labonte for her research, the Chief Minister for his political agenda, and Devraj Sarthi who uses her to buy the silence of the people in the slums. She is a leaf in the wind, ready to be blown any which way.

But she will never soar.

Across scenes, she is the glue connecting characters, circumstances, and facts. In all those scenes, you will see her trying to manipulate others, but more often, being manipulated herself. You will see her willingly put up with shame, humiliation, and disrespect for money or a meal. You will also see her raise herself from the filth of her surroundings and shine. You will see her fortitude in the aftermath of the disaster.

And everywhere, you will see her fighting. Fighting for a meal. Fighting for a roof over her head. Fighting for her child. Fighting for survival.

Judge her not. For you have no idea how she survives.

BhopalBasab Pradhan