Meet the women in Tagore's world

The Godrej India Culture Lab is set to host a preview of the musical theatre piece, Three Women -- a play addressing issues that are relevant to gender empowerment

As part of their Friday Funda series of events, Godrej India Culture Lab is hosting a preview of the contemporary musical theatre piece, Three Women. The play is written and directed by Bengali-American singer Isheeta Ganguly (who also enacts one of the characters).

Meher Acharia Dar, Isheeta Ganguly and Avantika Akerkar during the rehearsal of the play, Three Women 

Three Women highlights issues faced by 19th century Bengali Renaissance women through a modern-day prism. The play revolves around the characters of Charu, Bimala and Kadambari Devi, portrayed by Meher Acharia Dar, Avantika Akerker and Isheeta Ganguly, respectively.

Ganguly, who is also the founder of Neerupama (an organisation dedicated to gender equality), states that the play is about three characters who populated Rabindranath Tagore’s stories and real life: “Charu and Bimala are from Tagore’s novellas, The Home and the World and The Broken Nest, while Kadambari Devi was rumoured to be his real love. Although, she committed suicide at a young age, she remained at the centre of Tagore’s creations.”

The plot sees a 21st century Kadambari Devi travelling back in time to guide Charu and Bimala. “The message is to encourage women to take ownership of their journeys of self-discovery,” emphasises Ganguly.

“Tagore’s relationship with Kadambari Devi is said to have inspired the feminist spin in a lot of his prose; particularly as it pertained to the notion of forbidden love resolving into ‘safe’ outcomes that fell within the social expectations of his era. His writing seemed to serve as a way to resolve the dilemmas that surfaced in his own relationships with women,” she explains.

Rabindranath Tagore

Ganguly’s connect to the topic comes from her growing-up years in the US when she had a passion for singing Rabindrasangeet. Later, her guru in India, Suchitra Mitra, was a feminist.

For the play, the singer adapted the music from her own soundscapes. She eventually plans to take the play to the screen once it evolves into a screenplay. Designer Tarun Tahiliani has created the costumes for the play. On May 10, the play will premiere at the NCPA and then head to a multi-city tour in India and the US.

On May 2, 5 pm; At Auditorium, Godrej Industries, Vikhroli (E). 

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