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Event Info

Kamani Auditorium
1 hour 30 mins
  • Language: English
  • City / State: Mumbai, Maharashtra
  • Directed By: Faezeh Jalali
  • Produced By: National Centre for Performing Arts in association with Fats The Arts
Event Concluded

Shikhandi: The Story of the In-betweens

Shikhandi, a character from the Mahabharata, is perhaps one of the earliest trans-genders known in mythology. Shikhandi was meant to be born male to avenge an insult in her past life as Amba. But she is reborn female, raised male, has a sex change on her wedding night when she runs away into a forest, and finally fulfils her destiny – to be the cause of Bhishma’s death. A comic, tongue-in-cheek retelling of the story of Shikhandi, mixing the traditional with the contemporary, the play questions maleness, femaleness, and everything in between. The play was a runner-up at the Sultan Padamsee Playwriting Awards 2016, and was also awarded the Laadli Media Award for Best Play in 2017.

On Stage

  • Meher Acharia-Dar: Narrator (Parvati)/ Krishna/ Ensemble
  • Tushar Pandey: Narrator/ Shiva/ Nakul and Sahdev/ Ensemble
  • Mahnaz Damania: Shikhandi/ Shantanu/ Ensemble
  • Vikrant Dhote: Sthunakarna/ Mr.C/ Ensemble
  • Karan Desai: Yaksha King/ Fisherwoman/ Yudishthir/ Ensemble
  • Nikhil Murali: Bhishma/ Drupada/ Bheem/ Ensemble
  • Srishti Shrivastava: Amba/ Draupadi/ Ensemble
  • Kartavya Anthwaal Sharma: Arjun/ Vichitravirya/ Ensemble
  • Satish Krishnamurthy/Sriram Rajan: Percussion
  • Shalaka Deshpande: Violin
  • Anirudh Srinivasraghavan/ Anadi Nagar: Vocals

Off Stage

  • Faezeh Jalali: Writer/Director
  • Arghya Lahiri: Lighting Design
  • Arghya Lahiri/Shawn Lewis: Lighting Operator
  • Malaika Choudhury: Costume Design
  • Divya Anand and team: Costume Design Execution
  • Areen Attari (assisted by Madhura J, Ayushi M, and Adish P): Set Design and Execution
  • Satish Krishnamurthy: Music Composer
  • Dr. Sangeetha Rajan: Shiv/Parvati Dance (Bharatnatyam)
  • Faezeh Jalali and the cast: Movement, Fight, Aerial Choreography
  • Gaurang Swarge: Aerial Rigging Consultant
  • Paresh Koli, Omkar Thankar: Aerials Riggers
  • Shree Samartha Vyayam Mandir: Aerial Rehearsal space
  • Whistling Woods (Andheri Base): Rehearsal venue support
  • Mad-O-Wot: Hair Design
  • Akash Ghosalkar, Qadeer Ahmed Khan: Production Managers
  • Abhishek Chauhan: Backstage
  • Shawn Lewis: Publicity Design
  • Rutvik Patel: Rehearsal stills
  • Rajdev: Carpentry

Shikhandi: The Story of the In-Betweens has been in the making for several years. I was reading the Mahabharata a few years ago and also read Devdutt Patnaik’s The Pregnant King, and was really taken in by the story of Shikhandi; so I created a 20-minute, one-woman performance of it in 2010 in Berlin. The story has been simmering in me ever since; eventually I wrote the full-length version in 2014 to submit to an international playwriting competition. Not much came of that submission except that I had a first draft of a really fun play. I asked some friends to read it and people loved it. I continued writing and re-writing.

The story of Shikhandi is one that is important to tell in this day and age. It reminds us that transgenders have always been a part of our society, our history and mythology. Yet today transgender people struggle to be accepted in society for who they are. Shikhandi is a retelling of a myth, using traditional forms but with a very contemporary text. The idea is to challenge and question our current stereotypes around gender and sexuality: to ask of ourselves who we really are. Perhaps we can then realize we are all in-between: not only in gender and sexual preference, but comprising both good and bad, tradition and modernity, here and there, East and West, black and white: perhaps everything. The sooner we accept this fluidity within us, the easier it will be to accept people for who they are.

As the play says: “I’m the sublime, I’m the timeless, I’m all the universe encompassed.”
– Faezeh Jalali