Pride on stage
It’s a subject that has had fleeting impressions in Rama Pandey’s heart. When she was a child, she could never understand how ‘kinnar’ (transgender) was put on a pedestal when there was a celebration in the family (marriage or child birth) and yet they were never part of society otherwise. While growing up, she read about them and had a deep desire to document their lives. And thereby the idea took shape into Lallan Ms, a play presented by Rama Theatre Natya Vidya (RATNAV) Foundation in collaboration with Ganga Dhar Shukla Drama Festival.
With the country passing the Transgender Persons’ (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, the time wouldn’t have been more apt for a play on the subject. A chance meeting with Rajkumari from Patna, fondly called Lallan Hijra, and Pandey’s own relationship with Sonam, a transgender whom she frequently met at a busy traffic signal in Delhi, form the basis of this play. Pandey, the director and narrator, of Lallan Ms had met Rajkumari in 2014 for a documentary on her but due to unforeseen incidents the project was canned. But half a decade later, Pandey’s fascination for the subject, leads her to develop a play this time around moving beyond one person. Pandey as narrator in Lallan Ms takes the audience through Rajkumari’s real-life story. It highlights the struggles of how this 44year-old successfully opened a school for the poor in a slum in Patna, which was burnt down 15 years later by the land mafia.
“This play is a salute to Lallan’s never failing spirit which challenges and encourages us to achieve things in life. Making this play was the toughest challenge of my life,” says Pandey, who has played the role of lead actress in many popular plays like Shatranj Ke Mohre, Ashar Ka Ek Din, Bhumija, Kanchanrang, Jasma Odan and Shuturmurg.
“I have woven Lallan and other transgenders’ lives through my own life experiences with them. Also, I have tried my hand at depicting serious storytelling in an interesting drama style, for which I am using old folk medium of ‘Bhapang’ (a single stringed percussion instrument),” says Pandey, who has trained several kids from slums for this
play. The play will be followed by Purvanchal’s famous folk dance Jhangiya and singer Bajinath Yadav will sing a few folk songs for the audience.
Alongside the play, Pandey will also launch the cover of her book on the same subject, which is published by Vani Prakashan. The play will tour multi-cities including Jaipur, Bhopal, Jodhpur, Lucknow and Mumbai.
Courtesy : India Today