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A dance theatre production critiques Section 377

A dance production explores the private lives of two men in a bedroom, and questions the relevance of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Dec 08, 2016 20:47 IST
Manali Shah
A still from Queen-Size
A still from Queen-Size(Photo: Sidharth Sarcar)

A dance production explores the private lives of two men in a bedroom, and questions the relevance of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

‘”Of course, it is completely fine if you are gay. What you do in your bedroom is none of my business… but why do you need to talk about your sexuality? Why do you need to make a public issue of such a private matter?’ Not a day passes without someone or the other asking me this question… What I do in my bedroom has to be your business, my sophisticated friends. For you have made my sexuality a public matter even before I was born,” wrote LGBT activist and film-maker Nishit Saran, in a piece titled Why My Bedroom Habits are Your Business (2000), for a national newspaper.

A still from the production (Photo: Desmond Roberts)

Saran was referring to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the law which criminalises homosexuality by deeming it unnatural. This year, New-Delhi based dancer Mandeep Raikhy (36) choreographed a dance production as a response to Saran’s piece. “I realised that the article is as relevant today as it was 16 years ago. I felt it was time to assert one’s identity as a minority and speak up, especially because the space for dissent is shrinking,” Raikhy says.

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Titled Queen-Size, the production is set on a charpoy, and features dancers Lalit Khatana and Parinay Mehra. After a Delhi debut in May, Queen-Size will be held in Mumbai for the first time this weekend. “The idea is to invite an audience into a bedroom and to look at core elements of touch, gaze and proximity, and how these aspects can build an argument against an archaic law,” Raikhy says.

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Interestingly, while watching Queen-Size, the audience is free to enter and leave as they wish. “If we’re talking about rights and choice, then in that conversation, one must experience choice,” Raikhy says, and adds, “The setting is such that the audience can see one another. Although it’s not a provocative piece, you can sense who’s uncomfortable. Questions like whose morality am I watching and how am I looking while I’m watching this, comes into play. The viewing of the work then becomes central to the work.”

Be there

What: Queen-Size will be staged on December 9, 10, 11.

When: 7pm onward.

December 9: School of Environment and Architecture, Eksar Road, Borivli (W). Entry: Free

December 10: Sitara Studio, Lower Parel. Tickets: Rs 500 on bookmyshow.com

December 11: Harkat Studio, Versova, Andheri (W). Tickets: Rs 350 on bookmyshow.com