Indian literature is filled with colours. It has anything and everything for readers to enjoy. As we all know India is a country where “unity in diversity” this phrase is very popular and can be felt at every places you visit in India. Here is a list of 9 best Indian plays to read. The listed books are written with wit, truth and intense literary brilliance and that is the reason everyone should read (and watch!).

Silence! The Court is in Session by Vijay Tendulkar

9 Best Indian Plays To Read Right Away - Silence! The Court is in Session by Vijay Tendulkar
9 Best Indian Plays To Read Right Away – Silence! The Court is in Session by Vijay Tendulkar

This socially relevant meta-theatre play focusses on the prejudice a theatre group showcases towards an actress who has had an illicit affair with someone and is now expecting. The play shows the double standards held for women and men, and how only women are subject to derogatory treatment even when the man is equally to blame, through a play within a play.

Hey Nathu Ram by Sharad Ponkshe

This extremely controversial play attempts to resurrect the man who killed India’s most glorious and celebrated freedom fighter, Mahatma Gandhi. Here, Ponkshe tries to explores the reasons and rationales Godse had for the assassination of a man as great is Gandhi. It neither glorifies nor condemns the action, but merely approaches it with factual objectivity and artistic sensitivity.

Yayati by Girish Karnad

Yayati by Girish Karnad
9 Best Indian Plays To Read Right Away – Yayati by Girish Karnad

This play brings to life an episode from the Mahabharata, in which the heir to (and later king of) Hastinapur, Yayati wastes his life because of his lust. In the end, he even exchanges his youth for his own son’s, in order to satisfy his lust. Giving his heart to both his beautiful wife Devayani and her maid Sharmishtha, he still never finds fulfilment of the mind, body and soul. Karnad portrays the character of Yayti and his lovers succinctly and with grace.

Woman by Safdar Hashmi

This play is a commentary of femininity, an exploration of what it means to be a woman and a critique on patriarchy. At the centre of the play is the actress played by Hashmi’s future wife, and the character is that of a working woman who faces intense prejudice and discrimination because of her gender.

Shakuntala by Kalidasa

9 Best Indian Plays To Read Right Away - Shakuntala by Kalidasa
9 Best Indian Plays To Read Right Away – Shakuntala by Kalidasa

From perhaps the greatest writer and Sanskrit literary giant there ever was, is and will be is this classic love play. In this, we follow the beautiful Shakuntala, born in a hermitage, who is the embodiment of womanly virtue and the feminine ideal. She falls for the prince and the love story that ensues is the height of romance. Kalidasa uses vivid arboreal and natural imagery to set the mood, and with lyrics paints both the joy and melancholia of love.

Valmiki Pratibha by Rabindranath Tagore

This play recounts the mythological story of the great poet-sage Valmiki, credited with the composition of the brilliant Indian epic, Ramayana. In this play, the other great poet-sage of India explores Valmiki’s metamorphosis from a heartless thief to a saint, inspired by a hapless woman and a crow. This play is not only worth watching for its literary brilliance but also for the touching plot itself.

The Little Clay Cart by Shudraka

The Little Clay Cart by Shudraka
9 Best Indian Plays To Read Right Away – The Little Clay Cart by Shudraka

This is the flourishing love story of a courtesan and a poor merchant who find bliss with each other. However, as with every story, there is a villain – in this case, a powerful rival who tries to kill the heroine and place the blame on the hero of the story

Maya from Madurai by Naren Weiss

This intense play portrays the life and death of a young man who grows up to be a smoker because of his dysfunctional family.

Kaumudi by Abhishek Majumdar

In this meta-play, a saga of drama ensues with the strained relationship of a father and son. Tender, emotional and dramatized with just the right amount of sentimentality, this is a play to read and also watch. The best part is that it is also intellectually stimulating because of the play within the play, blurring the boundaries between the actual and the fictional plays.

Also Read: Indian Mythological Fiction Books That Are Best Among The Rest