Ladies Sangeet on Delhi’s stage
Have you ever been to a Ladies Sangeet that opens with men of the house singing a traditional wedding song? Well, this sangeet ceremony is a little different. With music, lights and masti of a wedding home this ceremony on the stage that every time comes to Delhi from Aadyam this time looks into gender stereotyping by Purva’s much talked and loved play, “Ladies Sangeet’.
Ladies Sangeet opens with a household that’s buzzing with wedding preparations. The oldest daughter of the house Radha is about to wed to Siddharth, a man from an affluent family. Everyone is happy and chirpy as the music-filled house resonates with joy and cheer. Radha is as nervous as she is excited because she has been dreaming of her wedding since she was a young girl but apart from what she has read in books she has no idea of what it actually entails after the bonhomie.
Says director Purva Naresh, “The play is a series of conversations between people that serves to highlight gender stereotypes and gender representation. Through these conversations we get a glimpse of the evolution of relationships and somehow veer towards the fact that the more relationships evolve with time, the more they’re actually not all that far away from the traditional.”
At first glance in the play it seems everything is fine but slowly the shadows begin to creep in and the flaws begin to reveal themselves and at each juncture the wedding seems to be in danger. Each character in the play re-examine gender stereotyping and the changing value system across the generations. Each character’s story starts a debate on Indian sensuality, sexuality and gender and like a kaleidoscope or a tapestry comes together in the end to reveal a perspective on some questions raised.
Radha’s mother, Megha is not on talking terms with her husband who happens to be love with someone else. Megha on insisting to meet the second woman in their life finds the other women to be none other than her husband, Yash. Yash is struggling between two identities.
The play takes us to an intense conversation between Yash and his mother, to whom he tries to communicate what he has been going through all this while, but she remains to be in a constant denial of her son’s sexual orientation since childhood.
Says artistic director Divya Bhatia, “Over the years it has acquired a very Bollywoodesque element, with all the particular songs and dances, choreographers etc. There are elements of all of this in the play, but at the same time, Ladies Sangeet is also a metaphor for what women are in this day and age. It’s also about women’s voices being heard; voices of different ages and time. Relationships today have become far more complex and modern, so these occasions of trying to get everybody to get together are challenging ones. The play reveals this, often in a light hearted vein… what it really means to put together a wedding today.”
Purva, an accomplished kathak dancer and pakhawaj player, brings to the play a very unique sound. Given that one would come to expect a rather typical Bollywoodesque playlist for a sangeet, her own roots in traditional music forms lends a very unique sonic palette to the play.
Divya adds, “Since Purva herself is a dancer/percussionist, her use of music is minimal and judicious; her experience of being a kathak dancer, a pakhawaj player and more means that much of her work epitomises her own artistry.”
Purva beautifully weaves the entire play through her well-defined characters, be it Radha representing today’s generation to Dadi for her love for classical music and no dhinchak tunes of Bollywood around. Dadi’s emotions are well expressed in her singing and apt bandish and raagas for a sangeet. Rukmini, the young and chirpy sister of the bride might be getting her training under Dadi, but is seen admiring Kylie Minogue. She can anytime turn shringar ras to a pop version, no less than a shock for Dadi..
The buas, bhabhies and bahus on the other hand keep the entertainment factor rolling with their chittar chatter while preparing a dhak dhak dance number for sangeet. Not to forget the wedding planner, Hosadiya played by Gopal Dutt, who needs no mention. He ensures to add those funny moments in a wrong situation. He offers more than 100 types of Dhula entries and nothing less than a bollywood style wedding.
The lights and the stage completely stands out and takes the entire play to a different level. A brilliantly made haveli, a separate balcony where Dadi is seen practicing gyaki, Radha’s room, a garden outside the house and a signboard with red colored lights highlighting Radha loves (heart) Siddharth, glows perfectly in the backdrop. Music and powerful singing by the artist on stage is a treat for the audience.
With its each season Aadyam is growing bigger and better. Its productions are the ones you just can’t miss and this Ladies Sangeet which got many accolades and a house full of attendees is a must watch.
Written and directed by: Purva Naresh, Aarambh Productions.
Cast: Lovleen Mishra, Joy Sengupta, Nivedita Bhargava, Siddhartha Kumar, Shikha Talsania, Ketaki Thatte and more.