Prashant Chauhan aka Whacker Cracker is one of the most lovable drag queen of India. Brining the wit and wisdom, dhamaka and glamour and pride and precision , when they perform they light up the house, As Prashant is celebrating their birthday yesterday, Dragvanti connected with them to seek answers for some really interesting questions.
1. What does "Drag" mean to you personally?
When I started drag, I only had a basic overall knowledge. However, as and when I started doing drag, I was able to meet more and more performers, I was able to see the how drag has multiple aspects and variety and then I started watching shows and seek more holistic understanding. So, now Drag is an escape for me, a space where I escape from Prashant.
2. When did you start doing drag?
Officially I started in Lat year august, I did some solo events and performances which were not as drag while dressing up. The only event where I did full-fledged drag was August 2019.
3. How did you start doing drag?
I was working for the community for 3-4 years but was dancing for 12 years before that. I was actively involved within the conversations of LGBTQIA+ community. Initially I never wanted to do drag, Hardly I knew about it as I know now, but I thought that it was an art form of talent less people (Laughing out !!!). But as and when I started talking with the community people, I made some great friend, and She was a wonderful Drag Queen. One day we were sitting in my room and gossiping, she said let me put you into drag and once she/he painted my face and gave me wig etc. that’s when there was a spark which lighted into me. I said to myself by seeing myself in drag, “see she is prettier than you “. that was when I thought of myself to do drag.
4. When was the first time you performed in drag?
In March 2019, I started performing with 3 gorgeous drag queens, My Friends. we did a group number and that was my very first drag experience. I didn’t perform a solo show till then, it was only in coming weeks I did my first solo.
5. How would you describe your drag style?
My drag persona is Very pretty-pretty dancing queen. The show girls and the classical pretty models and I always wanted to do like them so that’s the inspiration I bring into my drag. Wacker Cracker is a dancing Look glam queen.
6. Criticisms either make you or break you. What were some critics you got when you started?
I was a person who doesn’t bother criticism, I always use to carry my defense card. But when I started doing drag and met lot of people who were in the business, they taught me to see criticism as a positive way for scope of development. They gave me some lovely criticism which mattered. I always look up for criticism from people who are above me or doing something good and never encourage getting it from someone whom I don’t care in first place.
7. "Relevance of drag in India." What do you think?
Drag is very relevant in India. Because we live in a country which has a lot of diversity, with which there are a lot of issues, taboos, stereotypes come up day in and day out. As drag is an escape it sets me up from particular stereotype, particular norm and helps in putting perspective to the idea of these stereotypes. It creates a stronger space to be in and look up into the world and hence drag is required to make individuals like me strong and give a way of expression.
8. What the initial reaction of your family and friends when you told them about you as a drag performer?
So, I came out to them in 5 years ago even before I did drag. There was a lot of drama happened then but when I did drag my friends did get to know however, my mom didn’t understand much about drag so believed that I get ready and perform dance. My brother said” If you love what you are doing, and it is bringing happiness then I am with you”. That’s what they reacted to.
9. "Drag is political." Do you agree? Present your thoughts on the same.
Of course, drag is political, drag has been doing a lot of things for the LBGTQIA people. Drag has been political always and if you are an artist and are apolitical then you are not a drag artist. As artist we get a lot of responsibility to use our voices and hence it is important to have our political art when we perform.
10. Do you feel drag needs to be inclusive? Why or why not?
Yes, it doesn’t have a specific criterion, anyone can do it irrespective of where and how they come from. However, with current situation there are lot of people who are doing drag with wrong intent to seek attention that needs to stop. Do drag for the love of it and not to seek attention.
11. Do you believe drag culture is compromised?
Yes, kind of, as we see the mainstream drag it’s always been a particular thing. As initially we see RuPaul drag race and now we see lot of shows popping up with alternative drag. It is changing but still compromised and it will take some time.
12. Were you ill-treated/abused because you perform in drag? Please share your experience if comfortable.
I was misbehaved by someone in the club, when someone wanted to grab my ass as I dress up in a visible way and they think every drag artist is prostitute. I fought that situation back. I also perform in multiple straight spaces so there also this thing happens, but I have balls to show them what they deserve to see when they misbehave with me.
13. What is your vision through the art of drag?
I want to see unity, community and people coming together. I want to see the passion; I want to see a community coming together and the art of drag making all of us close to each other.
14. A message you'd like to give to young drag artists.
Please don’t run after attention. Don’t run for being pretty but do it for yourself. Prepare yourself and make yourself better, ensure to bring your authenticity and that’s when you can shine.
Dragvanti would heartfully like to wish Whacker Cracker a very happy birthday.
Questions by Miss Bhenji, Transcript by Patruni Sastry