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Surpanakha – A Kathak And Visual Arts Performance

  • Mumbai
  • 24/03/2019
  • 0

Experimental Kathak performance laced with visual art projection.


More than 300 Ramayanas - how many Surpanakhas?


In Valmiki’s Ramayana, Surpanakha is an ugly rakshasi who shamelessly proclaims her lust for Rama. When she is ridiculed and punished ,she retaliates by inciting Ravana to abduct Sita.


But there are more than 300 versions of the Ramayana. Ashavari Majumdar’s ‘Surpanakha’ draws on diverse versions like the Malay Hikayat Seri Rama, Vimalasuri’s Jain Ramayana and the Adhyatma Ramayana, to script new perspectives on Surpanakha - through her relationships with Ravana, Sita and Rama.


This production is divided in three parts-in the first part, Surpankha’s nose is cut off by Rama and she goes to Ravana for revenge. Was Surpanakha seeking revenge on Rama or was she motivated by sibling rivalry? In the Malay version, Ravana kills her husband –could this have spurred her on to plot his eventual downfall? The first part explores a new perspective on the sibling relationship between Surpanakha and Ravana.


The second part revisits the relation between Sita and Surpanakha. Sita and Surpanakha are traditionally considered ‘opposites’-one is chaste, the other is ‘shameless’-but both are eventually rejected by Rama.


The third part tries to reimagine the various ways Surpanakha can imagine Rama- lover/saviour/ enigma?


Combining Kathak, theatre and digital media, this production presents Surpanakha’s story as not one, but many possible stories.


Performed by Ashavari Majumdar.



Ashavari Majumdar has trained in Kathak under Pt Vijay Shankar in Calcutta and Pt Birju Maharaj in Delhi. She has been awarded the National Scholarship in Kathak and is empanelled in the ICCR. Ashavari has performed as a soloist in prestigious venues in India and abroad. She has also studied English Literature in St Stephens College, Delhi and Emory University, US.

Ashavari is interested in cross-media approaches to performance. Her work Surpanakha, supported by the IFA, combines monologue, Kathak and live video projection. Her most recent work 'Elegy for Kathak' experiments with new soundscapes. She is currently developing a performance project that explores non-proscenium locations

Date - Sun, 24 Mar
Time - 7:30PM
Venue - Harkat Studios , Mumbai Western Suburbs
Fees - Rs 300

Show for people 15+ years of age

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