Call for Papers: Indian Theatre Journal, volume 5
Monday, February 03, 2020

Call for Papers: Indian Theatre Journal, volume 5

Call for Papers: Indian Theatre Journal, volume 5


Special Issue: ‘Indian Othellos: Shakespeare Adaptations in India’


Indian Theatre Journal

ISSN 2051-7106 | Online ISSN 2051-7114


2 issues per volume | First published in 2014


Guest Editor: Dr Sreedevi K. Nair

Submission deadline: 15 March 2020


Othello, one of Shakespeare’s four major tragedies, has particularly served as the inspiration for multifarious retellings, adaptations, films, theatre and dance productions in India. The universality of the basic emotion at work in this play – namely that of conjugal jealousy – has warranted special appeal to productions based on Othello. Additionally, because Othello has been projected throughout the ages as a site of negotiation between the colonizer and the colonized, it has always retained contemporaneity in the postcolonial Indian context. Though it cannot be affirmed that Shakespeare meant the play to deal primarily with racial issues, adaptations of the play have constantly been steeped in racial as well as caste politics. This truly makes Othello, Shakespeare’s sixteenth century play, as contemporary as any play written today. These could well be the reasons why Othello has been adapted, presented and represented on the Indian stage time and again.


Saptapadi in Bengali directed by Ajoy Kar (1961), Kaliyattam in Malayalam directed by Jayaraj (1997) and Omkara in Hindi directed by Vishal Bhardwaj (2006), were all mainstream films inspired by Othello. Yamadoothu (or After the Death of Othello) a play directed and staged by V. Abhimanyu in 2012 envisages the deaths of Shakespeare’s Othello, Desdemona and Iago, set within the context of fantasy. The conversation between the three characters in the play exposes different perspectives and insights into the lives they lived. As recently as in November 2019, The Stars still Shine on Desdemona, another adaptation of Othello, was presented at the Women and Indian Shakespeares Conference held at Queen’s University, Belfast. In this adaptation of Othello, Desdemona does not get killed on that fatal night. Such frequent presentations of the play amply testify to the fact that Othello still agitates the Indian psyche.


The Indian Theatre Journal, the first international journal on performing arts in India, plans to bring out a special issue on Indian adaptations of Shakespeare’s Othello in different media. Articles dealing with western adaptations of Othello are welcome if they bring into context Indian adaptations of the play. General articles on the theory of adaptation citing examples from reproductions of Othello, are also solicited. 


The following are some of the suggested topics:

• Theories of Shakespeare adaptation (with examples from Othello productions)

• The mapping of Othello adaptations in India

• Translations of Othello

• Postcolonialism and Othello

• Class and caste in adaptations of Othello

• Intercultural Shakespeare

• Syncretism/Hybridity in Othello productions

• Othello kathaprasangam (‘storytelling’)

• Stage adaptations of Othello

• Films based on Othello: Kaliyattam, Omkara, Saptapadi


Please send proposals for articles, not more than 500 words in length, along with your CV to the Guest Editor of the issue Dr. Sreedevi K. Nair at by 15 March 2020. The final paper is expected to be received by 1 June 2020.