Draupadi: We are ‘no’ different now

We see the world through the eyes of the wandering spirit of the forgotten princess Paanchali, who is unabashedly the most prominent queen with a woman’s pride, a sharp intellect and a strong will. The script for "Draupadi: We are so different now", was conceptualised and co-directed by Shivani Pasrich – dancer, playwright and director. She stars as fiery yet matronly Draupadi who intervenes and rescues Maaya, a modern day woman who is on the verge of committing suicide after a traumatic personal experience. Draupadi advises her to be strong and fight for herself.

Draupadi, who has always been seen as a ‘Kritya’, the woman behind the Kurukshetra, has emerged as an inspirational figure, a feminist icon, as she fought for injustice and had the guts to speak up in a male dominated society.

We see a juxtaposition of old and new as the play begins. Draupadi, played by Shivani Wazir Pasrich, is reading a newspaper and listening to news about rape and violence against women; a stark portrayal of how the world has not changed much since her public humiliation during ‘Chir – Haran’ centuries ago. Director Tina Johnson, gives the read and heard tale of Draupadi a modern twist. A gripping performance by Shivani Wazir as the wronged princess Paanchali, who is furious at the injustice doled out to women in ‘protected’ spaces like homes.

Draupadi is an inspiration to the modern women asking them to stand up for themselves. The play concludes with Draupadi asking for forgiveness and the modern ‘Draupadi’, Maya, washing away the stains, the memories of injustice.

The play is a heady experience with taut lines and sarcastic one-liners. Overall, a good watch barring the end, which leaves you unsettled, and wishing for a solution. It is bound to leave the audience with various questions. What’s the solution to the problems we face everyday – revenge or forgiveness? Silent tears or seeking justice?

It gives out the message that the modern woman need not be passive, nor does she need to start a war. She has to be a nourisher, a mother, a forgiver and still fight for injustice stoically.

The concept of the play has a philanthropic purpose. The funds collected from it will go to Breast Cancer Patients Benefits Foundation founded by Dr. Sameer Kaul. The play incorporated this social theme in a cleverly worded sentence "Drinking injustice will lead to health problems like breast cancer". The play sends out a strong social message for women empowerment.

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