Kolkata lawyer to stage India's first all transgender dance drama Aami Chitrangada

Kolkata lawyer to stage India's first all transgender dance drama Aami Chitrangada

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 06 Jul 2018

Come this Sunday, Kolkata will be host to India's first all transgender dance drama, Aami Chitrangada, choreographed and helmed by lawyer-activist Megh Sayantan Ghosh.

The programme is scheduled to take place at the Satyajit Ray Auditorium, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Featuring 15 people, Aami Chitrangada is a modern take on the popular dance drama by Noble laureate and polymath Rabindranath Tagore, complete with a social message, urging people to widen their acceptance towards the transgender community.

Megh says, "Chitrangada in itself is a message. Through it, we want to deliver the message that judge us not by our looks but by our contribution. There are many transgender people who possess a lot of skill. So, I urge everyone to come out of this gender bias and look at us differently."

Apart from being a celebration of transhood, the dance drama is dedicated to renowned filmmaker and trans-icon, the late Rituparno Ghosh.

It was Ghosh's untimely demise in 2013, which led to the formation of Rudrapalash, Kolkata's first transgender dance academy, a year later.

The group has been performing since, churning out an annual tribute act, Ritu Utsav.

Like all success stories, this one too isn't devoid of a cliche. To start with...the beginning wasn't smooth. "I was in the fifth grade, maybe 14 years old, when I first felt the urge. Ever since, I have thought of myself as a girl."

Born as a male, in a conservative Bengali family, acceptance was an an unaffordable luxury.

"My parents found it hard to digest," she says. "However, I found acceptance among friends. There were times when I had to leave my house and stay with my friends. The relatives weren't any help either."

But all that has changed, "With education," Megh adds. "My parents finally accepted me for who I am, after I completed my education and found a job. Education is very important. It is a way for one to stand out."

However, even with the sense of achievement prevailing at home, acceptance in the society was still a far cry.

To her credit, Megh is India's first transgender lawyer, a feat she achieved in 2014. "I joined the Alipore Court in 2014 and was immediately subjected to mockery by my colleagues. Unable to come to terms with their behaviour, I left the court and kept myself detached from it for three years."

Pointing at the irony, Megh says that her ordeal took place in a facility designed to provide justice to the people.

"Approached by a friend, I returned back in 2017 and a year later, won my first case," she says.      

Presently, she is busy juggling careers, that of a danseuse and a law practitioner. "A lot of people who made fun of me earlier now wants me to spend time with them, but, frankly, I don't have time. I keep myself busy with work. I want my work to be my identity."

Megh says that the programme wouldn't have been possible without guidance from renowned Odissi dancer Sanchita Bhattacharya. "Over the years, I have found able support from a lot of influential people. Sanchita di has been one such person. ICCR too has been very supportive of my campaign.'

Herself a trained Kuchipudi and Bharatnatyam dancer, Megh aims at eradicating the plight of her ilk through the medium of dance and on Sunday, Kolkata will take a collective step towards realising that goal.


PS: Prior to the programme, Rudrapalash will be bestowing 16 eminent personalities from Kolkata with the Ritu Award. Recipients include Alokananda Roy, Ranjita Sinha, Lopamudra Mitra, RJ Mir, Jaya Seal among others.


(Preview by Sudipto Maity)

Kolkata lawyer to stage India's first all transgender dance drama Aami Chitrangada

India Blooms News Service
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