Bishakha Datta, Anil Hankare and Anand Satam

Bishakha Datta: Bishakha Datta works at the cusp of gender, sexuality, digital tech and...

Men Performing Women: Bin Baykancha Tamasha


Since the stage was not deemed a place for women - certainly not 'decent' women - the history of theatre is also the history of men playing female characters. Men playing women as it were.

Lavani, begun as dance interludes in Tamaasha, also used to be danced by men performing women. Today however, lavani is known, enjoyed and celebrated as a women's performance form. Lavani, with ample help from Bollywood, brings to mind a fabulous woman in a fabulous nauvari saree, dancing and singing her way into your being. It is in the year 2000, in such a scenario, Bin Baykancha Tamasha - performance without Women - took stage.

We are delighted to invite lavani dancers Anil Hankare and Anand Satam to Mumbai Local, for an engaged conversation with filmmaker and activist Bishakha Datta, who is fascinated by the art of men performing women. She is curious to know how and why Anil and Anand got into lavani performance, the social negotiations they and their group members may have had to make when making it a life choice, how they view gender and the act of performing women, how they negotiate the stigma of lavani, and so much more. And Anil and Anand have graciously agreed to share their journey as Lavani performers with us.

Do join us for an evening that is bound to open up doors and windows into a fascinating world of gender and performance. See you on Sunday. Remember, if you are unable to make it to the venue, we'd love to have you join us on live feed here.

Curated by Bishakha Datta.
RSVP for this session begins on Monday, 1st April 2019.

Bishakha Datta: Bishakha Datta works at the cusp of gender, sexuality, digital tech and activism and runs the non-profit Point of View. Much of her work is around the intersections of gender and sexuality in digital and physical spaces. Much of her work explores marginal, invisible, and silenced points of view - or those that are stigmatized or considered illegitimate.

Bishakha's film work includes In The Flesh, a film on the lives of three sex workers, and Taza Khabar, which delves into a unique women-run rural newspaper. Books she edited include Nine Degrees of Justice, a collection of essays on the struggle against violence on women in India, and And Who Will Make the Chapatis?, an anthology on rural women's political participation. She is the co-founder of the online zine, Deep Dives, which publishes long-form narratives on 'the way we live now'. Bishakha, who started her working life as a journalist, is currently writing #Selling Sex, a book on the lives and realities of sex workers in India.

Anil Hankare & Anand Satam: Anil stared dancing when he was 16 at Ustangkar Ballet Company. Once he started dancing in female getup he realized that he got more payment and tips and that's when he decided that he will focus on this. He used to dance in hindi orchestra.

Anand also started dancing at a very young age under the guidance of Arun Chandivale sir. He used to dance in a male attire. But would do female getup sometimes. He specialises in ghada dance also, where he dances on nails, with fire matkas on head.

In 2000, Anil Vasudevan, conceptualised this idea of Bin Baykancha Tamasha which is an all male cast lavani banner and he formed the group consisting of Anil, Anand and 2 other dancers. This was the core group. They stared dancing in female get up and that created a milestone in the history of lavani banner shows.

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