Dakxin Chhara

Dakxinkumar Bajrange (Chhara) is an award winning filmmaker, playwright, director and an activist from the Chhara De-notified Tribes of...

We´re Actors, Not Criminals

Why does a historically stigmatised tribe choose theatre to sensitise society? "Theatre," says Dakxin Chhara, "is our catharsis, our dialogue with society and the system. Andar ka gussa ya pain kaise nikaloge? As we produce our catharsis and expression, we move away from violence, towards a sociopolitical change."

Tribes across India were stigmatised as "habitually criminal" by the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 which came into force under British Rule. Though these tribes were since "denotified" in 1952, they continue to carry the stigma of being 'criminal' in the eyes of authorities and locals. They number 60 million people across India. The Chharas of Ahmedabad are one such tribe. In 1998, with encouragement from Ganesh Devy and Mahasweta Devi, a number of young Chharas began a profoundly life-changing experience with the establishment of Budhan Theatre. 20 years down the road, they claim that while the system still tends to stigmatise them, society has begun to see them differently. Theatre, they say, is the reason for this.

We are delighted to invite Dakxin Chhara - ghumantoo natakbaaj aur filmmaker - to Mumbai Local, to share with us the story of Budhan Theatre so far, against the backdrop of the larger history of denotified tribes in India. Get ready to hear about the origins of this theatre group, its journey and challenges, its theatre-making as a way of self-understanding as well as expression, and the changes its practice has wrought in the people who have become artists as well as the people and communities who have been audiences. "We all know that theatre does not cause direct change," laughs Dakxin, "but Budhan Theatre can claim that theatre has directly caused social change."

Please do make it a point to join us on Saturday - remember, this time it's a morning 11am session. If you are unable to make it to the venue, we'd love to have you join us on live feed on our Facebook page.

Curated by Sameera Iyengar & Sanjna Kapoor

RSVP for this session begins on Monday 25 February 2019

Dakxinkumar Bajrange (Chhara) is an award winning filmmaker, playwright, director and an activist from the Chhara De-notified Tribes of Ahmedabad in the western part of India. He is a recipient of Ford Foundation International Fellowship (2010-11) to study Graduate studies in 'Theatre and Global Development' at the University of Leeds, UK. His book Budhan Bolta Hai (Budhan Speaks) awarded first prize for "Mahatma Gandhi Best Creative Writing on Human rights" by National Human rights Commission (NHRC) for 2010-11. He is also a recipient of Rajiv Gandhi Arts Fellowship (2004-05) and Bhasha Fellowship (2002-03) to study art forms of nomadic and de-notified communities in Gujarat. Currently, he works as an "Artistic Director" at Budhan Theatre also a founding director of Nomad Movies Pvt Ltd. He has written and Directed 12 plays and Supervised 47 Theatre Productions of Budhan Theatre and performed more than 1000 shows in different parts of India. He was nominated for Heroes of Ahmedabad by Ahmedabad Mirror. As a Filmmaker, he directed 94 fiction and non-fiction films/TV series on various development and political issues of India that includes (Non-Fiction) Birth 1871, Sundarana, Nungro, Fight For Survival, The Lost Water, Bulldozer, Setu, Actors are Born Here, Toiletwale and many more... He has recently directed his debuted critically acclaimed Bollywood film Sameer on the "politics of perception". The film was released in theatres in India on 8th Sept 2017 and also screened in New York Indian Film Festival (USA), Charlotte Asian Film Festival (USA) and Indian International Film Festival of Queensland, Australia where he received "Best Director" award for Sameer.

His academic articles appeared in number of national and international journals.

Venues Dates Time
12-99 yrs
1 hr , 30 min
Entry free, on a first-come-first basis. Pre-register now to save your seat.