On March 9, music, poetry and dance will come together in a unique fusion at the Main Kaun Hoon concert, which will premier in the city to mark International Women’s Day.
Supported in part by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), the concert will feature the works of eminent women poets such as Sufia Kamal and Dilruba Shahana from Bangladesh; Amrita Pritam, Mahadevi Verma, Bahinabai Chaudhari and Noorjehan Sarwat from India and Zehra Nigah, Kishwar Naheed and Parveen Shakir from Pakistan.
These works will be brought to life by siblings Shobhana Rao, Shaila Hattangadi and Nirmala Jaishankar, who will use a combination of musical and tarannum renditions of ghazals, nazms and geets with dramatised and choreographed renditions of poetry.
Hattangadi told DNA, “Our focus will be on the woman’s world-view, on the feminine experience. The poetic content offers a richly textured collage of emotions and themes from the romantic to the optimistic, interspersed with the rebellious and even the raw feminist.”
While Rao and Hattangadi are well-known thumri, ghazal, geet and bhajan exponents with several albums to their credit, Nirmala, the wife of a diplomat, has distinguished herself as a cultural ambassador for Indian music and theatre during foreign postings.
According to Hattangadi, “The concert is a seething critique of heartless and exploitative systems and also a sensitive comment on human nature, contemplating the undercurrents of alienation and loneliness while coming to terms with a fast-changing milieu. Above all, it reflects the over-arching concern for a more humane and caring world.”
She also highlighted how the sub-continent which enjoys the rich legacy of a shared musical and literary heritage also has a common narrative of the feminine experience.
“When we began working on the idea, we were surprised that this is the first-ever such effort to bring together works of eminent women poets of the sub-continent. I wonder how it wasn’t done before.”