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Modern Draupadi empowers women

The epic heroine finds her voice as a modern Indian woman in model-turned-playwright Shivani Wazir Pasrich’s eponymous production, Draupadi.

art and culture Updated: Nov 10, 2010 17:16 IST
Megha Mahindru
Megha Mahindru
Hindustan Times

The fiery queen of the five Pandavas, Draupadi has always remained a subject of interest. This week, she will be reborn in the modern age in model-turned-playwright Shivani Wazir Pasrich’s eponymous production, Draupadi.

Backing Pasrich for her theatrical venture are other powerful women from various fields. Veteran artist Anjolie Ela Menon has lent her strokes to design the artwork, designer Ritu Kumar has dressed the play’s cast and musician Shubha Mudgal has sung three original songs.

Pasrich has created an Everywoman in her protagonist (that she plays herself). “It is not Draupadi set in another age. It’s a story of our times that crosses path with history,” says Pasrich, who has co-directed the play with South Africa-based director Tina Johnson.

The story follows the trajectory of the life of Maaya, a modern-day woman, who is on the verge of committing suicide after a traumatic personal experience. Draupadi comes to the rescue of Maaya and advises her to fight for herself. “Sita is considered a feminine epitome. But Draupadi is the “what if” option that the society doesn’t seem to offer. The play reveals that there is, in fact, a bit of Draupadi in everyone,” Pasrich adds.

A play centered on the archetypal wronged woman seeking justice is bound to be categorised as a feminist play. Dilip Shankar, who plays Krishna in the production, says, “Krishna is a woman’s man. And it’s not a dark play with a male-bashing agenda. In fact, it has its share of humour provided mostly by Krishna,” laughs Shankar, who has previously acted in movies such as Monsoon Wedding and Darjeeling Limited.

The production, which was first staged in Delhi this March, will make its debut in Mumbai with an altered plot. The show will see a mix of dance and music too. “I can safely say that every woman who sees the play will go back feeling empowered,” signs off Pasrich.

First Published: Nov 10, 2010 15:51 IST