There might be hardly anyone who hasn’t heard about Ravan’s sister Surpanakha. She is a well known character from one of the most famous Indian epic Ramayana. Unlike other characters of the epic, Surpanakha hasn’t been celebrated much. However, recently, a newly established theatre group called Prism Theatre re-explored the idea of good and evil by presenting Surpanakha in a unique way. This play re-imagines and follows her life, depicting how she turns from the beautiful Meenakshi into the despised Surpanakha.
The play has been re-imagined, designed & directed by Irin Shabnam. She also played the lead role of Meenakshi. Saif Khan played the character of Ravan while Naba Jeet Deka played Ram. Sita was played by Durgashri Bora. The play was staged at Rabindra Bhawan before a packed gallery.
Idea behind Meenakshi
In a press release, the theatre group shares, ‘We tell the story of an antagonist, but with her flaws. We neither sympathize nor glorify her vices and follies but we present how she lives with them, deals with them and overcomes them. We break stereotypes, so does our characters. Musical theatre are extremely popular, but we are experimenting with this form and instead of using song and lyrics we are incorporating vocal sounds, poems and chants. We are putting forward an attempt to combine acting along with physical theatre and, various dance and martial art forms to enact the story in the most entertaining and artistic way.’
Though the play was based on Meenakshi, Sita has been glorified as the hero of the play. When our society talks about good over evil, they highlight Ram killing Ravan but none talks about how Sita reformed Surpanakha back to Meenakshi. The relevance of this play lies in giving importance to a neglected character and celebrating woman power.