Communicating in the Third Space: A Psycho-Cultural Reading of Mahesh Dattani’s Radio Play Do The Needful


  • Amandeep Rana JC DAV College Dasuya
  • Harpreet Kaur Panjab University Chandigarh


Homosexuality, gay/lesbian relationships and same-sex marriage are a few bizarre issues that still raise a lot of eyebrows in our society; these people remain marginalized and uprooted in our socio-cultural setup. Mahesh Dattani’s first radio play Do the Needful focuses explicitly on some shared spaces among men, women and the third gender people in Indian society which pre-dominantly promotes the patriarchal family setup and discourages any change that challenges the established and existing structure of it. Dattani, very cleverly through the ‘thought’ technique, brings out his characters’ subconscious thoughts and their conflict with the socially constructed hegemony. They are not what society thinks of them; they are not what they want to be; they are not what they actually are; they are the inhabitants of a different world – a third space. Not only the two lead characters, Alpesh and Lata, but all characters search for ease in a third space. The ‘otherness’ that they feel in the psycho-cultural frame brings them to a common platform – Teri bhi chup, meri bhi chup.

The present paper aims at testing Bhabha’s postcolonial concept of ‘the third space’ and ‘in-betweenness’ in the psycho-cultural sphere, by highlighting and analyzing the space created by various characters for themselves under the weight of repressed (homo)sexual desires, social structures and cultural constraints.



Mahesh Dattani, third space, inbetweenness, marginal, hegemony, psycho-cultural


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Author Biographies

Amandeep Rana, JC DAV College Dasuya

Dr. Amandeep Rana teaches English at JC DAV College Dasuya, affiliated to Panjab University Chandigarh (India). In addition to research papers in journals of repute and book chapters, he has also worked on a UGC research project and edited a book on R.K. Narayan.

Harpreet Kaur, Panjab University Chandigarh

Harpreet Kaur is a PhD scholar at the Department of English and Cultural Studies, Panjab University Chandigarh (India). Her area of research is literature and popular culture.




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