Online video Dance

COVID-19: Janaki Rangarajan’s video is inspired by domestic abuse faced by women

A screenshot   | Photo Credit: by arrangement

During the COVID-19 pandemic, news reports of a surge in domestic violence against women under lockdown and in conflicting relationships with the abuser inspired an online video Domestic ‘Goddess’ released by Bharatanatyam dancer Janaki Rangarajan. In the 6.58-minute video, she focuses on a topic often swept under the carpet. She writes, ‘one is supposed to stay home and stay safe, But what if staying home is life threatening? This video is dedicated to all those affected by domestic abuse/intimate parter violence — physical, psychological, emotional and sexual...’

With Mahishasura Mardini sloka (lyrics by Adi Sankaracharya) playing in the background, Janaki, who has conceptualised, choreographed, performed and sung the sloka, showcases a slice of an abused woman’s life. The abusive relationship takes a toll, and leaves her frightened and traumatised. She dwells in pain but unable to seek help. When her child comes near, she hides her tears to smile, play and feed the child. Viewers are left stunned, watching the scenes unravel a woman’s trauma and helplessness.

Currently out of the country, the Chennai-based dancer, in a short email interview, talks about her inspiration and also how ‘recent studies indicate a substantial increase in domestic abuse due to the lockdown.’


Tell us about the inspiration behind the video.

Inspiration are the souls who were and are affected by domestic abuse — some who have/had managed to come out of it and survived to tell their stories and many who were not fortunate, but ALL of them who were/are an epitome of strength, courage and resilience. Salute to these souls! Stories of domestic abuse and violence have always affected me for many many years now and especially now with the increase in violence, every part of me wanted to do something about it in addition to sharing information. This is my way of creating an awareness and it was an organic process all along.

A screenshot

A screenshot   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

It must have been an overwhelming experience to choreograph and dance in this particular video?

It was! Especially to imagine, understand and absorb every bit of pain and trauma that the women must have endured.

How long did it take to choreograph the almost seven-minute video?

The concept and choreography itself took me less than a day but the research towards understanding it has been there all along.

There is also the Mahishashura Mardhini sloka being played in the background. You reflect ‘there are so many mahishasuras but where are the goddesses'. Is this video, a message to all the women to look for the power dwelling in them?

On one hand we worship the divine feminine energy and on the other hand, we refuse to see that divinity in our own women. It is this irony that made me choose this sloka.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 8:19:15 PM |

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