The Hyderabadis on Friday got a chance to witness the performance of the very famous multi-talented Mallika Sarabhai as she performed in the city incorporating various nuances of dance, drama, music and multimedia to make a statement about women’s empowerment.
Titled Sva Kranti and multimedia dance drama was based on the Gandhian way of life that women could adopt to question their role in society. There were onstage imagined dialogues with Mahatma Gandhi, where Mallika raised questions about fear of standing up against the system.
Speaking to the Express on the sidelines of the Manthan Samvaad, Mallika shared her reason behind choosing ‘Gender Conundrum’ as a topic to deliver a talk. “If there is one thing that is killing our country even more than poverty and caste system is completely unaccepted war on women that is going on, it is the biggest challenge that is keeping India back.”
She blamed prevelant patriarchy in the society the reason why women are still fighting for their rights. “If Dalits are still mutilated and their women are paraded naked on the streets, we are a nation that is anything but civilized and I think we are regressing in many ways”, Mallika, who is also an activist, added.
Explaining her transition from a dancer to an activist, Mallika said “It was never a transition. I was brought up in a family who fought for justice, for me the word activist did not click in my head till much later. I always fought for justice because I thought that’s what everybody did. After spending five years at international arena working with Peter Brook and performing ‘Draupadi’ I realized that the arts were the strongest language for change and rather than give lectures if my performance can put seeds into the minds of people about various issues than that is a better language to use.”
Mallika, however, rues that using art to convey social message should be done sensibly. “People should know how to use dance to convey a message. Artists have a powerful language but it is an uncomfortable one.”
Recalling her childhood, she said that it was initially a bit tough to get out of her father, a renowned space scientist Vikram Sarabhai, and mother, classical dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai, shadow.
“When I would do extremely well in SSC or in college, people would say Vikram Sarabhai would have pulled some string or at the beginning when I started my dance career, when I got good opportunities, people would say that my mother had pulled some string. It happens for the first few years, then you prove or don’t prove yourself.”