After more than 8 months of lockdown, it was the very first time that artists came back to the stage. On Sunday evening, Shilparamam Madhapur has opened its doors to the art of Drag. Drag an art form which has been prevailing for ages now in India but never been considered as the mainstream art, which in otherwise in the west is a billion-dollar industry. It was the very first time in the state where Drag has been represented in a State-level organization. This Sunday evening Hyderabad Based dancer and drag artist Patruni Sastry and their team of performers including Raghavendra Chivukula, Sajiv Pasala, Dheeraj Gupta and Ganeshan Chandran stepped ahead to present a Drag Musical. The performance was a Drag interpretation of an ancient mythological story of Mohini Bhasmasura which was presented with a touch of drag. Explaining the concept to the people Patruni Said “Mohini and bhasmasura story is a tale for today’s world. Where bhasmasura, a God made accident created havoc in the world which ultimately needed to be tamed by Mohini by asking the rakshasa to come in a dance battle and eventually killing him, the story draws comparison with the current situation of how we are combating corona ”.
Sajiv Pasala played Bhasmasura, dragged in an androgynous form with colours reflecting neon and translucent painted face. Mohini was performed by Patruni Sastry with their regular exaggerated dress-up as tranimal drag. Ganesha Chandran played the Shiva while Dheeraj and Raghavendra were the “Corona-sura”, (a hypothetical demon depicting Corona).
The first performance narrated the story of how Shiva grants a boon to Bhasmasura, that whom so ever he puts a hand on would turn to ashes. Which ultimately puts Shiva’s life in stake when Bhasmasura tried to put his hand on Shiva Himself. Following which Shiva runs to Vishnu for rescue. The second performance was an artistic representation performed by Patruni Sastry were they showcased how Vishnu transformed into Mohini, bringing the idea of gender fluidity in comparison with the mythological story. Here they used two masks one of a man and other of a woman to showcase the idea of the gender fluidity of the character. The third performance was the dance battle between Mohini bHasmasura followed by a final performance where they depicted an extrapolation of How Mohini would fight with coronasura by maintaining social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks.
The event ended with Patruni Thanking the administration of Shilparamam to provide an opportunity to bring drag into the cultural hub of the city. Patruni recollected the struggle since the time Drag was started in Hyderabad and how it couldn’t get spaces to perform and seeing now drag been into the State-owned cultural centre, he expressed his gratitude. This was the right occasion to say that Drag is here to stay a long way!