LIFE

A celebration of women's achievements

Eminent writer Mahashweta Devi inaugurating the women theatre festival at NSD in New Delhi on Friday. Also seen are theatre personalities, Joy Michael and Rekha Jain, and dancer Mirnalini Sarabhai.

Eminent writer Mahashweta Devi inaugurating the women theatre festival at NSD in New Delhi on Friday. Also seen are theatre personalities, Joy Michael and Rekha Jain, and dancer Mirnalini Sarabhai.  

IT MAY be more Indian than Asian really, but for the city's first Asian theatre festival dedicated to women directors, the essence of the week-long "initiative'' was more than just represented in the torchlight procession that marked the opening of the Asian Women Directors Theatre Festival in Delhi on Friday. Described as a celebration of women's achievements, the festival aims at examining the common links binding women directors in the field as well as an attempt to understand the cause for their works usually being different from that of their male counterparts.

The coming week presents the Capital with the opportunity to see the works of 15 of India's most celebrated women directors and five of their counterparts from different parts of Asia. Speaking at the inauguration here, eminent writer, Mahashweta Devi, may have preferred to call herself the "uncultured'' one for not being updated on the happenings of `this society', but she surely inspired most of them by calling them on to make the late 21st Century that of women.

Seen over the week will be the works of directors like Usha Ganguli, Nadira Babbar, Kirti Jain, Neelam Mansingh, Anuradha Kapur, Amal Allana, Mita Vashist and Saoli Mitra among others. Also present at the inaugural was acclaimed dancer Mrinalani Sarabhai and theatre greats like Vijaya Mehta, Rekha Jain and Joy Michael, Sheila Bhatia who were felicitated along with Prema Karanth and the late Shanta Gandhi.

The festival opened with B. Jaishree's "Manthara'' being staged at the Shri Ram Centre on Friday evening with the week-end being packed with plays like Usha Ganguli's "Rudali'', Vietnamese play "Moon light in the small courtyard'', "A deeper fried jam'' by Maya Krishna Rao, Philippines play "Panaw'' and Tripurari Sharma's "Mahabharat Se''.

Although the Asian representation at the festival will be really small, the organisers maintain that theatre lovers will still have a lot to look forward to. The highlight of the festival, however, happens to be the conference that will have the women representative discuss important issues concerning the women's theatre scene in India. Also on will be various exhibitions showcasing the works of Indian women in other creative fields like painting, sculptures as well as artecrafts.

By Lakshmi Balakrishnan

Photo: S. Arneja

Recommended for you